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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 25 February 2021

'There was nothing I could do' - Jack Byrne on Mick McCarthy's Apoel sacking

The Ireland midfielder said the Cypriot club reassured him over his future after McCarthy’s exit.

Jack Byrne during his Shamrock Rovers days.
Jack Byrne during his Shamrock Rovers days.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

TWO DAYS AFTER Jack Byrne made the move to Apoel Nicosia, Mick McCarthy was sacked as the club’s manager and the midfielder said he was unable to prevent it.

McCarthy, who was unveiled as the new Cardiff City boss in recent days, lost his job shortly after convincing Byrne to make the move to Cyprus. 

The only game-time the former Shamrock Rovers star logged under McCarthy was a five-minute cameo off the bench on his debut. By his second game, McCarthy was gone.

Byrne has maintained he holds no ill feeling towards the ex-Republic of Ireland boss.

“There was nothing I could do,” he told EJ Menswear’s The Changing Room. “The ink was dry.

“Obviously I love Mick. I’ve huge respect for Mick, he gave me my Ireland debut, he had me in Ireland squads. And as a person I can’t speak highly enough of Mick. He took a chance on bringing me here.

“It is different over here. It’s a different style of football and it’s something I just have to get used to now and just crack on. Because I’m here for two and a half years. I’m enjoying the first month so we’ll see how it goes.”

Remarking on McCarthy’s new job, he said: “I’m delighted to see Mick get the job now at Cardiff and Terry Connor after going in there. I’m sure they are going to do great, there’s no better man to do well in the Championship.”

The 24-year-old said the club moved to “reassure” him over his own future after McCarthy was sacked. 

“I knew the president here and the board wanted me as well,” he added.

“Obviously, the new manager [Savvas Poursaitidis] is after coming in now but I spoke to the president before I came here. They’re all still here.

“So it’s been good. Just settling in you know, the first couple weeks just settling in to my own fitness programme. Everything’s going well so far, so can’t complain, really enjoying it so far.

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“The area is nice, the people have been great.”

And how does the Cypriot league compare to the other nations he’s played in, he was asked.

“It’s completely different to the League of Ireland to be fair, it’s completely different to England, to Scotland, the last couple of places I was in. I wouldn’t really compare it to Holland.

“I’ve only played two games now, played a half an hour on Sunday, played 20 minutes the weekend before that. So it’s going to take me a while to get used to it and see what it’s like, but it is technical. They want to get the ball down, they want to play. The new manager that is after coming in here really wants to play football.”

Byrne said the opportunity to win trophies and play in Europe were big factors in his decision to make the move.

“They expect that at this club because it’s the biggest club out here, they are used to winning trophies, to winning leagues, to being in Europe every year,” he explained.

“They plan to be in Europe. And that was one of the big factors why I came here in the first place, European football, and they’re really hungry to get that.

“Hopefully I can be a part of that. The league itself, there’s some good players I’ve played against. Even playing against some of the teams here…I’ve come up against to come up against a lot of players in the Holland and they’re all technically good players [in Cyprus].

“They all have three or four really good players on each team.”

Watch Jack Byrne’s full interview below.

Source: ej menswear/YouTube

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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