Preston have used the Irish market on a number of occasions in recent years – and are now being linked with another move.
North End started the influx with Alan Browne arriving from Cork City in 2014, before Dundalk duo Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan arrived in January 2017.
Just a matter of months later, Kevin O’Connor and Seani Maguire came in from Cork City, and Preston raided Shamrock Rovers for Graham Burke in the summer of 2018.
Preston have even added Irish talent at youth level, with Adam O’Reilly, Jimmy Corcoran and Harry Nevin all arriving from Irish clubs.
It’s been a mixed success rate; Maguire and Browne are sill first-team regulars, but Boyle and O’Connor quickly returned to Ireland, Horgan was offloaded after just 18 months and Burke proved to be a disappointment.
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Now, Protathlima in Cyprus report that Preston are battling APOEL Nicosia for the signing of Jack Bryrne, with Nottingham Forest and Stoke City also keen on the Shamrock Rovers ace.
They cite ‘Irish media’ reports, which we have been unable to locate, so just where this information has come from is unclear – but it’s certainly interesting.
Byrne, 24, was in the Manchester City youth ranks before ultimately disappointing spells with Wigan Athletic, Oldham Athletic and Kilmarnock.
Since returning to Ireland with Shamrock Rovers in 2019, Byrne has been a star; he’s bagged 16 goals and 10 assists in 64 games, showing creativity, set-piece ability and long-range shooting.
Capable of playing as a number 10, on either flank or in central midfield, Byrne has shown that he is too good for the League of Ireland, and Preston may have been attracted to his displays alongside Burke.
Preston do have a host of midfield options, but with Browne, Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson out of contract at the end of the season, Byrne could be viewed as a creative option to add into Alex Neil’s side.
The links still seem a little dubious, but do make some sense given Preston’s history in the Irish market, so Byrne may well be a name to keep a close eye on.