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'I've never seen anything like the scenes after the game'

He wasn’t involved on the night but Johnny Dunleavy could still savour Cork City’s title triumph.

inpho_01278881 Johnny Dunleavy (right) celebrates with Cork City team-mate Steven Beattie. Source: INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

IT MAY HAVE been a bittersweet occasion for Johnny Dunleavy, but Cork City’s club captain couldn’t hide his delight following last night’s game against Derry City.

The goalless draw at Turner’s Cross was enough for Cork to be crowned SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions for the first time since 2005.

Dunleavy wasn’t involved after his season was brought to a premature conclusion in June when he suffered a knee injury in the win over Limerick.

However, the Donegal native was thrilled that the Leesiders finally got over the line after finishing second to Dundalk for the last three seasons.

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

“It’s very hard to describe, to be honest. It’s just pure relief, joy, the whole lot rolled into one. I’ve never seen anything like that after the game, the scenes,” said the former Wolves defender.

“It’s 12 years since we’ve done it and to do it here in front of everyone here in Turner’s Cross is unbelievable. Everyone here deserves every bit of it.”

Cork City set a pace their rivals couldn’t live with for the first two-thirds of the season by embarking on a 22-game undefeated run that laid the foundations for this triumph.

They’ve faltered lately, having failed to win in their last five games. However, Dunleavy insisted that their recent form mattered little after they wrapped up the third top-flight title in the club’s history with two games to spare.

CorkÕs City fans invade the pitch at the end of the game Cork City supporters invade the pitch after the final whistle. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

He said: “In 10 years’ time when people look back, they’re not going to go, ‘well Cork weren’t great for a couple of weeks there’. They’re going to say ‘Cork were champions’. That’s what we are now.

“We’ve deserved it over the course of the year. We’ve been the best team. Kenny Shiels [Derry City manager], in fairness to him, came in after the game and he said that to us.

“Phenomenal. Unbelievable night.”

In pics: Celebrations in Cork as Premier Division title returns to Leeside

Cork City’s Alan Bennett pays lovely tribute to Derry after a traumatic season

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Paul Dollery

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