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'I've never seen anybody with his talent in this league... he's just frightening when he's on form'

Thomas Byrne is making an impression in the League of Ireland.

THE SKY IS the limit for young Thomas Byrne after another impressive display helped St Patrick’s Athletic to a 5-2 victory against Derry City on Friday.

That’s according to his team-mate and namesake Conan Byrne, who believes the 19-year-old attacker has “all the attributes” required to make a success of his career.

Thomas Byrne St Pat's youngster Thomas Byrne. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Now in his 14th season in the League of Ireland, Conan Byrne has seen his fair share of talented individuals in the domestic game since he made his debut for UCD in 2005.

While the 32-year-old winger was reluctant to over-emphasise the potential of a player who’s still in his teens, he was glowing in his praise for the Drogheda native while speaking in his role as co-host of the Greatest League In The World podcast.

“I’ve never seen anybody with his talent in this league,” Conan Byrne said. “And that goes for every player that I’ve played with, including Chris Forrester, Jamie McGrath, Sean Hoare, Shaun Williams… all those players, I’d nearly say they wouldn’t lace his boots.”

Thomas Byrne spent 18 months with Brighton & Hove Albion before returning to Ireland to join Drogheda United in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last season.

He endured a difficult year while representing his hometown club. The versatile attacker served three separate suspensions in 2017 — two for red cards, one for an accumulation of yellow cards — as Drogs were relegated back to the second tier.

Byrne also left the Ireland U19 squad ahead of last October’s game against Cyprus after refusing to take a blood test, a matter which was reported to Sport Ireland by the FAI.

He moved from Drogheda to St Pat’s for the 2018 season. His debut was delayed due to injury, but Byrne has been making a big impact at Richmond Park recently.

St. Patricks Athletic players congratulate goal scorer Thomas Byrne Thomas Byrne celebrates with Ian Bermingham and Conan Byrne after scoring against Sligo Rovers. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

After making three substitute appearances in the league, he has started and scored in each of his last two outings. Friday’s goal against Derry was preceded by a successful penalty kick in the 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers.

Ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Shamrock Rovers, in which Pat’s will be bidding for their fifth consecutive win, Conan Byrne said: “He has all the attributes needed to be a footballer: skill, technique, pace, can beat a man, can defend, has that little bit of determination… which can get the better of him.

“I know a lot of people have talked about that before — his indiscipline. He kind of needs to settle down in that area but he’s just frightening when he’s on form.

“It’s very exciting for St Pat’s fans, the fact now that he’s injury-free and enjoying his football, which is the most important thing. You need to enjoy your football and he certainly is at the moment.”

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Paul Dollery

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