“I love it out here, it’s all going really well.”
Jack Byrne has said that he has no regrets about his decision to sign for APOEL. The Dubliner caught many by surprise when he decided to swap Tallaght Stadium for the Cypriot side at the end of 2020. After two stellar seasons with Shamrock Rovers, Byrne was expected to possibly join an English club.
Yet, Mick McCarthy, during his brief stint as APOEL manager, came in for Byrne and the midfielder took his talents to the Mediterranean island. It has, however, been a difficult start to life at the club for the 24-year-old.
Jack Byrne on life in Cyprus.
McCarthy was sacked just a day after Byrne’s debut. APOEL have continued to struggle for form and Byrne is currently sidelined following back surgery.
Yet, Byrne has rejected suggestions that his move to Cyprus was a mistake or that he now regrets his decision.
“I definitely think the European style suits me,” Byrne told reporters on Monday at a virtual event to promote the SPAR FAI School Zone programme.
“Most people understand that. People who have seen me play will probably say, ‘He suits Europe more than he suits England.’ But that’s not to say I couldn’t play in England, as I would love to give it a go again one day. I had options to do that.
— St Kevin's Boys FC (@stkevinsboysfc) March 6, 2021
“But I chose to come here because it’s a big club. I think the style suits me, and I don’t regret it. I love it out here, it’s all going really well.
“There’s no doubt this club will be back. This club shouldn’t be where they are and won’t be where they are for long as they won’t accept it.
“There’s a reason why they are the most successful club over here.”
Byrne: I don’t regret my move to APOEL.
Byrne also said that the move to Cyprus would also help him “grow as a person” and step out of his comfort zone. He feels he has settled in well with his new teammates and he praised the club’s sports science department.
“This was the biggest chance that came up and the one that stood out to me – where I could grow as a person and learn,” the Republic of Ireland midfielder said.
“I was going to work under a manager who knew me (McCarthy), knew my strengths – not for too long as everyone knows. But the thinking in coming out here was for me to learn a new way of life and a new culture.
? Jack Byrne wrote his name into Irish football history last night on his debut, when he became the 500th Men's Senior International
— FAIreland ⚽️?? (@FAIreland) September 11, 2019
“I am going to play with players who I’d never get the chance to play with – a lot of Spanish and Portuguese players, Greek players, we have four Brazilians in the squad.
“You are playing a different style of football, I do want to coach one day and I see how other teams in other countries do things and the way they approach it.
“Away from the football, the sports science stuff, all that over here, is different to anything I’ve seen before and that’s good.
Byrne: My time in Cyprus will not define me.
Byrne also stressed that, regardless of how his time on the pitch with APOEL goes, it will not define him and he has plenty of time left in his career.
“It is going to be a great learning experience. I am going to be 27 when I finish my contract here, if I stay for the two and half years and if I stay for longer, brilliant.
“Even at 27, I am still a young man. I can go and do something else, play somewhere else, or I could finish my career here.”
SPAR FAI School Zone was launched today by current Republic of Ireland footballer, Jack Byrne.
SPAR FAI School Zone is a new digital learning initiative that has been designed by the FAI and sponsored by SPAR for teachers and parents of primary school children in 4th, 5th and 6th class offering interactive and engaging lesson plans designed with both the classroom and home schooling in mind.