Dunfermline Athletic

Saints between Shaun and heaven

Thursday, 21st Mar 2013

Captain is confident - "In the game on Thursday it showed that we can compete against them.

SHAUN BYRNE

For a few of the Dunfermline Athletic Under 20s squad this season is their last chance of success at youth level and a real opportunity to reach a Hampden final.  Captain Shaun Byrne is one of them.

"We do not fear them," he claimed in an exclusive interview with the website, "they are hard to play against but once we got into the game against them last time, we were just as good as them."

Shaun feels that he is over the injury that kept him out for a month and after no reaction in the 70 minutes he played last Thursday and the full 90 on Monday night at Motherwell, he is up for the SFA Youth Cup semi final on Sunday against St Mirren:-

"I felt perfect on Monday but Kenny Murray the physio says that I will feel aches now and again but for now it is fine. It was torn ligaments in my ankle and it is the only injury that I have ever had. Hopefully it will be alright. It was just the way my foot was planted, it was twisted."

Shaun Byrne v Dumbarton

Shaun's injury coincided with an injury to Josh Falkingham so the two of them did their rehabilitation together including a special tip from a coach who is now being praised for accelerating their recovery:-

"He told me and Josh that walking in sea water would help. We were meant to be out for eight weeks but that is just five now. It knocked a few weeks off it but Neil McCann said that he has done it before and it helped a lot and it did."

The injured Pars went off to Aberdour beach and Shaun described the first few minutes in the water was like walking on glass. "You get used to it, Josh liked it and Alex (Whittle) went down one day for his knee injury but he screamed."

Shaun Byrne & Jim Jefferies

It was bad luck for Shaun after waiting so long for a first team place that he sustained an injury in his sixth first team start. Shaun admitted that he was gutted but knows that he has a big role to play for the rest of the season. His comeback is likely to be restricted to the U20s this weekend since the Pars have an SFA Youth Cup semi final to play against St Mirren. The 19 year old claims that after his first team debut match against Raith Rovers on 2nd January, Sunday's game could be the biggest he has played in:-

"It is a massive game against a team that beat us through there in the league. I played but it was possibly our worst performance of the season and they played well to be fair. They are probably one of the best teams we have played.

"In the game on Thursday it showed that we can compete against them. We knew that they were a good team and they pass the ball well. The first twenty minutes they started better but after that we got ourselves back in the game. I think it will be a close game on Sunday but I definitely fancy our chances to go and beat them."

Dunfermline v St Mirren

Shaun pinpointed a few in the St Mirren team to watch:- "John McGinn is playing for the first team just now so I don't know if he will play. Thomas Reilly is a good player too." He then expressed hope that fans would turn out to support the team because he says it definitely does help the players:-

"Hopefully we will put on a good performance and reach the final. We have a lot of good players in the side and we have done really well this season considering we are a First Division club competing against nearly every team that's in the SPL."

The Under 20s trip to Cyprus as part of the EU's Leonardo Di Vinci project, meant that Shaun missed a game having just made it into the first team.  He felt that the training camp was a fantastic team bonding exercise and one that will help them in the fight for silverware:-

"We were quite close before but spending two weeks together with your team brought everybody closer. Everybody got on well, there was loads to do - it was good."

Sunday's semi final will provide an opportunity for Pars fans to come along and see the potential in John Potter's side:-

"They could maybe make the step up to the first team. Chris Kane has come in from Hearts, Alex Whittle from Liverpool but Ross Millen and I have come up through the youths and there are a few others who could make the step up soon. Blair Henderson and Ross Drummond, Kerr Young and Grant Munro have all been included in the first team squads this season. Lewis Martin is not far off either.

John Potter and Craig Dargo

"John Potter has been brilliant as coach. He has pushed me right from the start, told me to keep being patient - my chance would come. He has been putting in good words to the gaffer and Craig Dargo has helped as well. They have told everybody that there are chances here and just to keep going."

Sunday 24th March
SFA Youth Cup Semi Final
Dunfermline v St Mirren
East End Park, Kick off 1.00pm
Admission £2



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