The Dublin native signed on the dotted line at 4pm this afternoon and will add valuable experience to Derry City’s back four in the coming season.
Speaking to DCFC Online, manager Roddy Collins declared his delight at finally getting his man. “Cliff is an unbelievable addition. He’s like a manager on the pitch. Even this morning at training you would have sworn he’d been here 10 years never mind 10 minutes with the way he was commanding the younger players.”
The 31 year old Dubliner has spent his entire career to date in the English league and the 2014 season will be his first experience of the Airtricity Premier Division. Byrne started his career with Sunderland but did not make a break through at the Stadium of Light, moving to Scunthorpe United on loan in 2003. Byrne made the move permanent in 2002 and played over 250 times for the Lincolnshire based club. Byrne played an instrumental part in Scunthorpe successful promotions in the mid 2000s, particularly in 2008/9 when his goals at the end of the campaign saw Scunthorpe claim a playoff spot and eventual promotion to the Championship. Indeed the new signing was no stranger to the Wembley turf, also reaching a Johnston’s Paint Trophy Final whilst in the colours of Scunthorpe.
Such was his impact on the club and its supporters that nearly 3,000 fans turned up for a benefit game for Byrne following his decision to leave the club.
The defender moved to Oldham in July 2012 but struggled with the move north and did not feature regularly for the Latics. He returned to Scunthorpe in 2013 on loan and there was much speculation that he would return to his former club on a longer term basis after his Oldham contract was cancelled in January 2014.
After periods on trial with the likes of Ross County Byrne has opted to return to Ireland to ply his trade in the Airtricity Premier Division in the Candystripes.