EXPERIENCED centre-back, Cliff Byrne, will lead Derry City into the 2014 season, the 31-year-old Dubliner thrilled to have been offered the captaincy by Brandywell boss, Roddy Collins, yesterday.
And the defender will accompany Collins and Derry CEO, Sean Barrett, to the Aviva Stadium this morning for the official launch of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division campaign.
Byrne, who signed on the dotted line at the Brandywell just a few weeks ago having opted to return home from England, said he was both “surprised and thrilled” to be asked to captain his new club.
“Since my arrival I’ve been highly impressed at the professionalism I’ve witnessed at Derry City,” said the player last night. “I was surprised when Roddy asked me but, at the same time I was thrilled given that I’ve just arrived at the club,” he added.
However, holding down the captaincy will not present any problems for Byrne given that he led Scunthorpe into the Championship a few years ago when he played a significant role.
And while Collins was delighted that Byrne had accepted the role, he did admit that there were other players in contention.
“I thought long and hard about making my decision on who would lead the team on the park before opting to ask Cliffy,” declared Collins.
“There were a few others such as Danny Ventre and Barry Molloy who had led by example in the past. There was also Gerard Doherty who has been a commanding figure at the Brandywell for so long, while Rory Patterson was another candidate, but I opted for Cliffy because of his vast experience and the fact that he is a born leader.”
Collins also confirmed that Jon-Paul McGovern would arrive next week to sign a one year contract, the 33-years-old central midfielder having agreed terms.
“He’s coming in on Wednesday and I’m delighted to have got him. He’s a very intelligent player and I believe he will be very good for us,” concluded the Derry boss.
Meanwhile, Derry received ‘good news’ yesterday when it was announced that former defender and Brandywell favourite, Simon Madden, would NOT be lining out against his former club on March 9th, the Shamrock Rovers players forced to sit out a one match ban having received four yellow cards.