John Frederick Byrne (born 1 February 1961) is a former professional footballer who played for the Republic of Ireland and various clubs in England and France in the 1980s and 1990s.
Born in Manchester, Lancashire, Byrne began his career with York City and came to the attention of Queens Park Rangers during the League Cup match between the sides in 1984. He joined QPR in October 1984, making his debut against Norwich City.
He was a highly skillful player and once famously dribbled half the length of the pitch to score against Chelsea in a 6–0 victory in 1986. Shortly afterwards Byrne played at Wembley in the Milk Cup Final against Oxford United but ended up on the losing side.
Byrne moved from QPR to the French club Le Havre, in 1988, at the same time that his compatriot Frank Stapleton would move there from Ajax. He would remain at Le Havre one season longer than Stapleton before returning to England, in 1990, to play with Brighton & Hove Albion.
He would have spells with Sunderland, Millwall, and Oxford but returning to Brighton, on loan in 1993 before finishing his career there in 1996.
With Sunderland, he had the distinction of scoring in every round of the 1992 FA Cup except the final, which Liverpool won 2–0 with goals from Michael Thomas and Ian Rush, although he revealed in a pitch-side interview following the game that he was mistakenly handed a winner's medal.
Byrne is currently a commentator on Radio Sussex for Brighton and Hove Albion home games.
Byrne was called up to international duty under Eoin Hand's reign as Irish manager. With his first game being an international friendly against Italy. The game played at Dalymount Park, on 5 February 1985, finished 2–1 to the Italians.
Byrne would go on to earn 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland, and was in their squads for Euro 88 and the 1990 World Cup but didn't play any part. His best day in a green shirt came when he scored two fine goals in the 3–1 win over Turkey played in the BJK İnönü Stadium in Istanbul as part of the qualification for Euro 92. He donned the green jersey for the last time in an international friendly against Wales. The game, which finished in a 2–1 victory for Ireland, would also be Bernie Slaven's last international duty.
York CityFootball League Fourth Division: 1983-84