Byrne provides spark for Mick

Troy Parrott (second right) celebrates after scoring his first goal in last night’s 3-1 victory over Sweden in their U-21 European Championship. Photo: Sportsfile

Mick McCarthy praised the influence of Ireland's 500th senior international, Jack Byrne, who came off the bench and "lit up" the Aviva by creating two goals in the 3-1 friendly win against Bulgaria.

However, he played down the prospect of parachuting Spurs' teenage starlet Troy Parrott straight into the squad, stressing he needed to break into his club team first.

The Ireland manager claimed that Shamrock Rovers midfielder Byrne could be an option when his side travel to Georgia and Switzerland in next month's crucial Euro 2020 double-header - and he didn't completely rule out a promotion for Parrott.

"Jack Byrne lit up the place and assisted the two goals, Alan Browne played well. All those things pleased me no end," said McCarthy, who maintained his unbeaten record in his second spell as Ireland boss.

"It was good to see Jack Byrne in a game. He has that position to play in behind James Collins.

"He's so effective, he's got goals in him and his pass to Enda Stevens was terrific.

"Jack has made an impression. He has to play further forward and find a pass. It's completely different if we're being dominated on the ball.

"Put it in perspective. Would it be different against those big Swiss lads? Absolutely.

"But if we need to change things he could be the one."

Asked what Parrott, earlier in the day a two-goal hero against Sweden in their Euro qualifier, needed to do to break into McCarthy's squad, the manager offered a simple ultimatum.

"Play in the first team. You do realise the U-21s and the U-23s at Spurs where he is playing is far removed from where we are playing? It's a huge difference.

"If I feel it is right, I'll take him. We'll have him watched. What if he had not come on and scored the goals he did in Sweden?

"If I took him today and the U-21s get beaten, I would have got stick. Stephen didn't pick him either today.

"But what I love about him, he came on and had an effect. He didn't have a sulk so fair play to them.

"I've never ruled him out."

"James Collins did well today. We'll see how the other players get on, who's injured."

McCarthy reiterated that he would not prolong his stay beyond the length of his contract, which is due to end with Ireland's involvement in the European Championship campaign.

"I sent Stephen a good luck text. He's got a good team, they've never qualified for anything before. They're solid in all departments.

"Stephen is perfectly placed. I could have taken the brickbats in Gibraltar if things didn't go well so he's protected from that.

"I should take some of the credit for that win today. I could have taken Troy, I could have taken the lad Aaron Connolly, I could have taken Jayson Molumby, but that would just weaken them. Hopefully if we qualify, it would be seen as a really good decision for us to do what we've done in terms of the management."

McCarthy's captain on the night, John Egan, described it as the proudest moment of a career which has been mainly spent working in England's lower leagues.

"It was the proudest moment of my career, I am a proud Irishman and captaining your country is the pinnacle of your career, I know it was a friendly but no one can take that away from me, I am delighted with that now and hopefully we can take these last two results into next month and keep doing well in the group," said the Sheffield United defender. "I am happy with how I did, the penalty is probably a blot on the copybook but these things happen when you are a centre-half, these things happen and you can't let it throw you off your game."