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"I can remember the Ireland flag waving" - Jack Byrne on Ireland and family importance

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

08:53 2 Oct 2019

Shamrock Rovers and Republic of Ireland midfielder Jack Byrne has spoken about his emotions at making his debut for the boys in green last month.

Speaking to Joe Molloy on Off The Ball, Byrne was evocative in his recollections about his first run-out in the friendly against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.

"Relief, excitement - an indescribable feeling when you're jogging on," said Byrne.

"I have this memory of looking up into the Aviva and there is this Irish flag just waving.

"You are jogging onto the pitch and as you are, you can just see this flag above everything else. It is a crazy feeling."

It was a moment tinged with emotion in more ways than one, as Jack's mind turned not only to the family in the stadium but those that were not around to see the moment.

"You're thinking of everything. Obviously, everybody knows that I lost my dad when I was 11 so that was running through my mind.

"During the game, I remember that we got a throw-in and I could see all of my family there and see this big flag hanging over the sides.

"These things are inexplicable feelings. It is something that I am really, really proud of."

Family was a theme that Jack returned to, as he discussed the difficulties of adapting to life in Holland, while on loan in the country from Manchester City.

"When you're running through things in your head and you don't have that release [of having close friends and family nearby.]

"Now I have that release, where I will go and speak to people and say 'Look, I'm struggling here - I need someone to come over to me for a few days.'

"I used to think that my family or my friends didn't even want to come over and watch me play football. That wasn't the case.

"They were coming over to me to see me. They were coming over to see Jack Byrne, who had been living at home for so long.

"My ma would never be coming over to watch her son play football. She was doing it to make sure her son was alright."

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