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Byrne hasn't given up hope of breaking LOI all-time goalscoring record

The 36-year-old Bohemians striker is hoping to be a positive influence in the dressing room this season.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AT 36, JASON BYRNE accepts that he is no longer guaranteed a starting place in the Bohemians team.

A year ago, the legendary striker returned to the club he won a league and cup double with in 2008 and while he made 31 appearances in the league, 12 of those were from the bench as he found himself behind the much-improved Dinny Corcoran.

When his manager and old friend Owen Heary left for Sligo Rovers at the end of last season, the former Ireland international had to decide whether he wanted to extend his playing career, which began at Bray Wanderers way back in 1999.

As he explained to The42 yp this week, new manager Keith Long made the decision an easy one by assuring Byrne that he was needed — particularly as a role model for the less experience players.

” I had to weigh up a few things at home but when I spoke to Keith, he wanted me first and foremost,” Byrne said. “That was a seller for me.

“I could have been hemming and hawing but when he told me he wanted me here I said no problem. He explained to me that I won’t be playing every game and I had to take that on board but he told me he sure I can help the other lads as much as I did with Dinny and the other strikers last year.

I’ll take enjoyment from helping the other strikers because it’s not all about me. If they can do well and score a few goals then it’s only going to be good for me and the team.

“As Keith said, there is no better person to ask about how to score goals than me. I took that as a massive compliment. I probably don’t give myself enough credit for that but I’m sure I am an influence in the dressing room and people look up to me because of the goals I’ve scored.

“I love a bit of banter and I love a bit of craic but when it gets down to the serious stuff and a player wants to ask me advice, I have no problem helping them.

“Our aim will be top half in the league and to go one step closer in the cups and I’m sure there is no reason why we can’t.”

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Jason Byrne, manager Keith Long and Derek Pender Byrne with manager Keith Long and team-mate Derek Pender. Source: Clive O'Donohoe/INPHO

Byrne’s nine league goals in 2014 saw him edge a step closer to Brendan Bradley’s all-time LOI goalscoring record. Currently 21 short of Bradley’s 235, the Tallaght native knows it would be a huge ask but, nevertheless, he hasn’t completely given up hope. 

“It’s up to me now and I’m still playing so there is always a chance. If I stopped there would be no hope and that’s the way I’m looking at it.

“I go into every game with the mentality that this could be your last game so give it your all. I still had a good return last year and I know I’m not going to be able to play as much as I would like to but when I do get a chance I will take it.

“We will weigh it up again at the end of the year and see how far off we are. Now it’s just about taking each game as it comes.”

Mr Green, the award-winning online casino, has renewed its successful sponsorship of Bohemian FC, as the club celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.  Visit mrgreen.com and get your game on this season.

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Ben Blake

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