Jason Byrne currently playing for Cardiff City F.C. in the Championship.
Jason Byrne was considered one of the most talented players in the Eircom League, and one of the few in recent times to be called up to the national team.
Byrne began his playing career at Bray Wanderers in 1998, where he immediately made a name for himself, netting 5 goals in 15 appearances. Over the next 4 seasons Byrne increased his reputation as a striker that struck fear into the heart of opposition defences, scoring 49 league goals in 128 league appearances, and helping Wanderers to the 1999 FAI Cup. The 2001/02 season at Bray saw his most successful goals return, netting 14 league goals during the course of the season.
In 2003, Jason signed for Shelbourne for a reported €75,000, scoring twice on his league debut against Waterford United in April. He made an immediate impact, scoring 21 league goals in his first season, and helping Shelbourne to the summit of the league table. The difference in the quality of supply was clearly evident. He was named PFAI player of the year for his efforts.
2004 saw Jason pick up where he left off, forging a good partnership with new signing Glen Fitzpatrick, and firing home 25 times in 33 league games, again helping Shelbourne to the league title.
2005 saw Jason hit 30 goals across all competitions, including 5 in the Champions League and 22 in the league, and once again scoop the PFAI player of the year award. During this time he courted the attention of foreign clubs, such as Brighton and Hove Albion and the Swedish champions Djurgårdens IF. It was widely assumed he would join Djurgården, however, the clubs could not agree a fee. The Swedes offered in the region of €400,000, a record for an Eircom League player. This was turned down because, reportedly, as much as 50% would have gone to his previous club, Bray Wanderers.
Jason was a key player for Shels in the title winning 2006 season, topping the scoring charts again with 15 goals in 26 league appearances, including a crucial last-minute winner against Derry City. This brought his tally of goals to an incredible 83 in 122 league appearances for the Reds.
He signed for Cardiff City for a fee of £75,000 on 17th January 2007, and scored on his debut against Wolves, after coming on as a 62nd minute substitute.
He made several appearances for Cardiff, alongside Michael Chopra, toward the end of the season as their promotion push stalled and they found themselves struggling to maintain form.
During the summer it was widely reported that Cardiff had cancelled his contract, even being confirmed by Sky Sports news website, and he had left the club however this was soon revealed to be false. At the start of the 2007/08 season he has found his first team chances to be limited due to the arrivals of Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Steven MacLean and he has found himself in the reserve side.
Jason's form, despite playing on the right side of midfield for defensive reasons, during Shelbourne's historic Champions League run in 2004 won him a call up to the Ireland team for a friendly against Poland in April 2004. The manager at the time, Brian Kerr, opted only to bring on Jason for the final minute. This move was not appreciated by Shelbourne supporters, who already had a strong disklike for Kerr due to his association with their rivals St Patrick's Athletic F.C..
Despite what has been seen by some as a poor start to the 2006 season, Byrne was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad to face Chile on May 24 2006 by Kerr's Successor, Steve Staunton. The game was a disappointing one for the Republic as they were defeated 1-0 at home, but Byrne, unlike his previous international encounter, earned a reasonable amount of time on the park as he played the final 20 minutes of the game, setting up several gilt-edged opportunities that were spurned by two players considered to be among Ireland's best; Damien Duff, and Byrne's cousin Robbie Keane.
Jason was again called up to the Ireland squad by Staunton in 2006, for a friendly against Holland, but was unable to take his place in the squad due to injury.
* League of Ireland Championship: 3
o Shelbourne - 2003, 2004, 2006
* FAI Cup: 1
o Bray Wanderers - 1999