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Former Irish international defender commits his future to Cork City

Alan Bennett has signed a new two-year deal.

Alan Bennett Cork City defender Alan Bennett. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

CORK CITY HAVE received another boost ahead of the 2016 season after Alan Bennett penned a new two-year deal with the club.

After eight years in England, Bennett returned for a second spell with his hometown club last season and was one of the SSE Airtricity League’s top defenders throughout the campaign, as John Caulfield’s side finished second in the Premier Division and reached the FAI Cup final.

“I’m very happy. I really enjoyed last year and I am really looking forward to next season. I’ve said loads of times how much the club means to me; that’s probably the basis of my decision, and also dealing with John and what he has got planned for the year ahead. Once I spoke to John, I felt like I wanted to be part of it,” Bennett told CorkCityFC.ie.

“When I came in last year, I said I wanted us to do something good and we did, but next year I want to go a step further and win something. It’s up to the younger lads now to step up, push us those next few steps that we need to go and drive this club forward into the next few years.

“You don’t want to look too far ahead. At the moment, it’s about staying fit, working on things physically and then going into pre-season. The sooner the games start, the better. I have really enjoyed the time off, but it’s not too long before you are itching to get back training so I am really looking forward to the season ahead and to getting pre-season underway as quickly as possible.”

Alan Bennett Alan Bennett in action for the Republic of Ireland against Ecuador in May 2007. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Having played a key role in Cork City’s Premier Division title triumph in 2005, Bennett joined Reading in January 2007. He went on to have spells with Southampton, Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers, Cheltenham Town and AFC Wimbledon, before returning to Leeside for the start of the 2015 season.

Now 34, Bennett — who won a League Two medal with Brentford in 2009 — was capped twice by the Republic of Ireland under Steve Staunton in friendly games against Ecuador and Bolivia in 2007.

Cork City manager John Caulfield said: “Alan has been instrumental since he came back. He is an absolutely fantastic guy to have, he was man of the match in the cup final and he is phenomenal around the place. I’m delighted to have him back because, not only is he a leader on the pitch, but around the training ground as well.

“We have made a lot of changes in personnel; obviously we have kept the majority of our young players, but you need a few wise heads around the place too, and Benno was a no-brainer for me. He really wants to push the team on next year; he feels we are very close, which we all do, and he knows with the work we are doing in the close-season that we are making sure we will be better next year.

“He’s an incredible player, a warrior, and he gets himself right for every game. We’ve had a great chat and he is buzzing to get started. You can’t beat it when people have that hunger when they are coming to the end of their career and it rubs off on the younger players.”

John Caulfield Cork City manager John Caulfield. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

John Caulfield has so far had a productive off-season. Despite losing the likes of Billy Dennehy, Darren Dennehy, Ross Gaynor and Dan Murray, City have brought in Sean Maguire, Ian Turner, Kenny Browne, Greg Bolger and Gearoid Morrissey.

Other key players like John Kavanagh, John Dunleavy, Colin Healy, Gavan Holohan and Garry Buckley have also signed new deals.

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Paul Dollery

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