Johnny Dunleavy with the Premier Division trophy. INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Here's Johnny

Premier Division champions confirm that their club captain is staying put

Defender Johnny Dunleavy has signed a contract extension with Cork City, who he joined in 2012.

JOHNNY DUNLEAVY IS to stay with Cork City for a seventh season after the Leesiders confirmed this morning that their club captain has extended his contract for 2018.

The versatile defender, who can also play in midfield, first joined City in January 2012 after spending five years on the books at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

While Dunleavy has been a key player when fully fit, much of his time in Cork has been hampered by injuries. The latest setback came in June when he was ruled out for the remainder of their double-winning season after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament in a 4-1 Premier Division win over Limerick.

However, the 26-year-old Donegal native is eager to get back on the pitch next year, when John Caulfield’s side will defend the Premier Division title and the FAI Cup, as well as representing Ireland in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

“I am delighted to sign back again. We knew that it was happening, but it was just a case of finding the right time to sit down and get everything sorted out and signed. Now, it’s time to get the head down and focus on the rehab for another while,” he said.

“It’s never nice to sit and watch, I’m the worst watcher in the world, but everything is going according to plan so far and I’ll come back bigger and better than ever.

“John [Caulfield] recruits well every year and this year is no different. The boys that have come in are quality players and will add competition. It’s exciting; all of a sudden, everyone is gunning for us which is a different kind of pressure, but that is the way you would want it. As a footballer, you want success and you want trophies. It will be tough to replicate this year, but that will be our aim.”

Johnny Dunleavy celebrates scoring Dunleavy celebrates after scoring against Bray Wanderers in April. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

City boss John Caulfield added: “Johnny is working very hard to get back and we all hope to see him back soon. We all know what a vital part of the club he is and what an outstanding player he is.

“The sooner he is back, the better for us and, while he will miss the start of the season, we believe he will be back before too long. Our physio team of James Peckitt and Joe Normoyle from the Mardyke Arena deserve a lot of credit too, as they have been working very hard with Johnny.

“He has been in this position before, but through hard work and perseverance, as well as our excellent medical team, he has come back. I believe he is ahead of his original schedule, which is great to see, and we can’t wait to have him back.

“We are not putting him under any pressure to get back, as he is recovering from a serious injury, but we will all be delighted to see him back in action.”

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