Jason Byrne (footballer)
|Full name||Jason Byrne|
|Date of birth||23 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Dublin, Ireland|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Current club||Bray Wanderers|
|2004–2006||Republic of Ireland||2||(0)|
|2011||League of Ireland XI||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Byrne scored in his first competitive game for Bray coming on as a substitute in a League of Ireland Cup game on 16 August 1998. He made his League of Ireland debut on the opening day of the 1998–99 League of Ireland season on 30 August.
Byrne scored his first League of Ireland goal against Shamrock Rovers on 4 September 1998. His exploits earned him the Player of the Month award for his first month in senior football. That season he scored 7 goals from 15 appearances.
Over the next 4 seasons Byrne increased his reputation as a striker that struck fear into the heart of opposition defences, scoring 49 league goals in 128 league appearances. Despite breaking his ankle in November he recovered to score twice in the 1999 FAI Cup replay win. The 2001–02 season at Bray saw his most successful goals return, netting 14 league goals during the course of the season.
On 12 January 2003, he signed for Shelbourne for a reported €75,000, scoring twice on his league debut against Waterford United in April. He made an immediate impact, scoring 21 league goals in his first season, and helping Shelbourne to the summit of the league table. He was named PFAI Player of the Year for his efforts.
2004 saw him pick up where he left off, forging a good partnership with new signing Glen Fitzpatrick, and firing home 25 times in 33 league games, again helping Shelbourne to the league title.
2005 saw him hit 30 goals across all competitions, including 5 in the Champions League qualifiers and 22 in the league, and once again scoop the PFAI Player of the Year Award. During this time he courted the attention of foreign clubs, such as Brighton and Hove Albion and the Swedish champions Djurgårdens IF. It was widely assumed he would join Djurgården, however, the clubs could not agree a fee. The Swedes offered in the region of €400,000, a record for a League of Ireland player. This was turned down because, reportedly, as much as 50% would have gone to his previous club, Bray Wanderers.
Byrne was a key player for Shels in the title winning 2006 season, topping the scoring charts again with 15 goals in 26 league appearances, including a crucial last-minute winner against Derry City. This brought his tally of goals to 83 in 122 league appearances for the Reds.
Following the break-up of the Shelbourne team due to tax irregularities, which saw the club demoted to the League of Ireland First Division, Byrne signed for Cardiff City for a fee of £75,000 on 17 January 2007, and scored on his debut against Wolves, after coming on as a 62nd minute substitute. He made several appearances for Cardiff, alongside Michael Chopra, toward the end of the season as their promotion push stalled and they found themselves struggling to maintain form. During the summer it was widely reported that Cardiff had cancelled his contract, even being confirmed by Sky Sports news website that he had left the club, however this was soon revealed to be false. At the start of the 2007–08 season he found his first team chances to be limited due to the arrivals of Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Steve MacLean and found himself in the reserve side, where he was the leading scorer by January.
After being linked with the move for some time, he rejoined his former manager Pat Fenlon and signed for Bohemians on 8 January 2008 on a free transfer, signing a three-year deal. Byrne made his debut for Bohs as a substitute against St Patrick's Athletic on 14 March 2008, and scored his first goal for the club from the penalty spot against Finn Harps on 28 March 2008. He scored twice in two wins over Rhyl F.C. in the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Jason wrote himself into Bohemian folklore by scoring the goals that clinched the 2008 title against Drogheda United on 10 October.
On his first start of the 2009 season, Byrne netted a brace as Bohs beat arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers 2–0 on 20 March. He continued this good form throughout the season as Bohs won their second league title in a row, with Jason netting 22 times in the league. This included an incredible 4 goals against Dundalk on 1 May. Jason had an injury-hit 2010 campaign as he struggled for fitness and form. Despite a good run towards the end of the season where he scored an important winner against big rivals Shamrock Rovers, Byrne and Bohs just came up short losing the league title on goal difference. Due to the Gypsies' financial difficulties, he was released from the club when his contract expired at the culmination of the 2010 season.
Return to Bray Wanderers
On 24 January 2012, Byrne rejoined Bray Wanderers on a one year deal. He returned to the club where he began his career, after a nine-year absence. On 30 March, he equalled Pat Morley's record of 182 League of Ireland goals. On 13 April, Byrne became the second highest goalscorer in the history of the League. For his exploits in May 2012 he was awarded the Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month.
On 8 June 2013 Byrne scored four goals at University College Dublin A.F.C. to become the second player to score more than 200 League of Ireland goals. He also became Bray's leading all-time League goalscorer  Byrne won the Player of the Month for June 2013. The accolade is Byrne's sixth during his League of Ireland career which is a record 
Byrne's form won him a call up to the Ireland team for a friendly against Poland in April 2004. The manager at the time, Brian Kerr, opted only to bring him on for the final few seconds. This move was not appreciated by Shelbourne supporters, who already had a strong dislike for Kerr due to his association with their rivals St Patrick's Athletic.
Despite a relatively poor start to the 2006 season, Byrne was called up to the Ireland squad to face Chile on 24 May 2006 by Brian Kerr's successor, Steve Staunton. The game was a disappointing one for Ireland as they were defeated 1–0 at home. Byrne, unlike his previous international encounter, earned a reasonable amount of time on the park as he played the final 20 minutes of the game, setting up several gilt-edged opportunities that were spurned by two players considered to be among Ireland's best; Damien Duff and Byrne's cousin, Robbie Keane.
- Bray Wanderers
- FAI Cup (1): 1999
- League of Ireland (2): 2008, 2009
- FAI Cup (1): 2008
- League of Ireland Cup (1): 2009
- Setanta Sports Cup (1): 2009-10
- Byrne was the top scorer in the League of Ireland for 4 consecutive seasons, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. A feat never before achieved.
- Byrne scored his 100th goal for Shelbourne in a League of Ireland Cup game against Finn Harps during the 2006 season.
- Byrne is the all-time top Irish goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League with 5 goals.
- "Gormley and Molloy unlock poor defence". Irish Times Archive. 5 September 1998.
- "Ireland – Player of the Year and Other Awards".
- "Bluebirds secure front-man Byrne". BBC Sport. 18 January 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007.
- "Wolves 1–2 Cardiff". BBC Sport. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Byrne completes Bohemians move". Irish Times. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Bohemians run riot against Rhyl". BBC Sport. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Rhyl 2–4 Bohemians (agg 3–9)". RTÉ Sport (RTÉ). 29 June 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "No Derby delight for Rovers...". 20 March 2009.
- "Bohemians 5–0 Dundalk". RTÉ Sport (RTÉ). 1 May 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- O'Gorman, Simon (5 October 2010). "Bohemians 1 – 0 Shamrock Rovers". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Dundalk capture Byrne and Quigley". RTÉ Sport (RTÉ). 5 December 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- "Jason Byrne returns". 24 January 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Cork City 1 Bray Wanderers 1". 30 March 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Shelbourne 2 Bray Wanderers 1". 13 April 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Jason Byrne SWAI Airtricity Player of the Month for May". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Poland 0–0 Republic of Ireland". 28 April 2004. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Republic of Ireland 0–1 Chile". 24 May 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2012.