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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

An Irishman's delight at achieving promotion for the third year in a row

Alan McCormack was central to Northampton Town’s win over Exeter City at Wembley last night.

exeter-city-v-northampton-town-sky-bet-league-two-play-off-final-wembley-stadium Alan McCormack (left) under pressure from Jake Taylor of Exeter City during the League Two play-off final. Source: MIke Egerton

VETERAN IRISH MIDFIELDER Alan McCormack is celebrating today after ending yet another season with promotion.

McCormack, along with former Republic of Ireland U21 international Michael Harriman, was a member of the Northampton Town side who recorded a 4-0 win over Exeter City in last night’s League Two play-off final at Wembley.

With his side being upgraded to League One status for next season, the 36-year-old Dubliner has now achieved promotion for the third year in a row.

McCormack was a key member of the Luton Town side that jumped from League Two to the Championship with back-to-back promotions.

After being released by the Hatters last summer as they prepared for life back in the second tier of English football, he brought his expertise in battling for promotion to Northampton.

Under the management of former Manchester City captain Keith Curle, the Cobblers are going up after a two-year stay in League Two.

The latest promotion is the fifth of McCormack’s career. He helped Swindon Town to win League Two in 2012, before moving up to the Championship with Brentford two years later.

“I spoke to a few people about Northampton and I just had a big feeling about this club and about the manager in terms of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to play,” he told the Northampton Chronicle today.

exeter-city-v-northampton-town-sky-bet-league-two-play-off-final-wembley-stadium McCormack leading the celebrations last night at Wembley. Source: MIke Egerton

“Okay, we changed our style of play a little bit, but at the end of the day it’s all about results. You can play the best football in the league but if you don’t win games, the manager loses his job. It’s all about winning.

“It probably wasn’t the prettiest game but we controlled it from start to finish. They had a little spell when they changed their shape in the second half but all in all we kept our focus, and 4-0 in a final – who’d have thought it!”

Northampton required a dramatic second-leg comeback in their semi-final to advance to last night’s decider. Having lost 2-0 to Cheltenham Town, they won 3-0 away from home in the return leg.

“We knew it would be difficult to repeat the energy and performance from last week but we knew we had the belief that we could beat any team in this division,” McCormack added.

“We started very well, we scored early in the game and then got a second and it could have been three or four before half-time. We’ve been the best team from set-pieces in the league and we knew that would be a massive strength.”

McCormack’s one-year deal with Northampton has now expired. He’ll turn 37 next season, but as he told The42 last weekend, he’ll be ready to play on if needed.

“That’s the manager’s decision,” said the former Stella Maris player, who’s closing in on his 500th appearance after completing 18 seasons as a professional.  

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Paul Dollery

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