A windswept Dalymount Park may not have been the most obvious stage for Shamrock Rovers star Jack Byrne to showcase his vast array of talents, but Hoops boss Stephen Bradley hailed his prized playmaker as "head and shoulders the best player on the pitch" after his charges kicked off their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season with a 1-0 victory over rivals Bohemians in their Dublin derby. 

The gusts generated by Storm Dennis were accompanied by driving rain, which hampered both sides' efforts to play free-flowing football.    

Rovers had to wait until stoppage time to grab all three points, with Aaron Greene’s predatory strike from close range proving the difference. 

"I thought we were the better team for the whole game," Bradley insisted afterwards.  

"I thought we controlled the game from start to finish."

Turning his attention to Byrne, the Shamrock Rovers supremo opined: "I thought he was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch.

"First of all, his work rate and his desire to work for his team-mates, and then after that his quality on the ball was outstanding."

Retaining the services of the much-coveted Republic of Ireland international was a priority for the Tallaght-based club in the close season, but Rovers have been conspicuous by their lack of activity in the transfer market. 

However, Bradley assured fans that the absence of a plethora of new signings is very much by design.  

"We always wanted to get to this stage where they’re wasn’t much change," he added.

"A lot of chopping and changing every year is not good.    

"We don’t have to do that, thankfully. We’ve built and we’ve a really good squad. 

"We’ll still try and add this week, but we’re really happy with the group." 

Bradley’s opposite number Keith Long lamented conditions in Dublin 7. 

"It’s very difficult to assess the performance, to be honest," Long said. 

"The conditions didn’t really enable the game to be played in any fashion, for both teams."
 
Long regards teenage defender Andy Lyons’ dismissal in the 64th minute for a second bookable offence as a turning point in the match. 

"I thought we actually started the second half quite well, until the sending off I thought we were on top.

"To lose a man and go down to 10 men, we were up against it then a little bit. 

"But it’s very difficult to stomach at this moment in time because you think in the 93rd minute, you think you’re that you’re nearly there. 

"I think we probably deserved a point from it and it’s hard to take positives from today."