Damien Delaney has admitted he is ecstatic to complete his return to Cork City and claims contract negotiations between himself and the club were the easiest he has ever experienced. The defender returns to Leeside having departed in 2000 to pursue
Damien Delaney has admitted he is ecstatic to complete his return to Cork City and claims contract negotiations between himself and the club were the easiest he has ever experienced.
The defender returns to Leeside having departed in 2000 to pursue a professional career in England where he enjoyed spells at Leicester City, Hull City and most recently Crystal Palace amongst others.
The Cork native will be eligible to play competitive football for his local club from the first of July – the day after his contract with Palace expires – with his debut likely to come in the clubs friendly with Portsmouth on the second at Turner’s Cross.
And speaking to reporters at his official unveiling at the Cork Airport Hotel on Tuesday, Delaney confirmed that the opportunity to play for City was too good to turn down.
“There was no sell, it was the easiest contract negotiation ever,” said the 36-year-old.
“I said, ‘What’ll you give me?’ he said, ‘That,’ and that was literally the size of it. I’ve got a kid on the way now as well and it wouldn’t be fair on my girlfriend to be dragging her here, there and everywhere and me being away a lot.
“Objectively, when I stepped back, it ticked every box for me really, but the main was what these guys have been doing here.”
“My thought process was that I’d been in England for 18, 19 seasons. I spent so long in the Championship, trying to get out of it, that the thought of going back in there wasn’t particularly appealing. It didn’t get me excited.
“I spoke to John (Caulfield) periodically, to see how things were going and to wish them luck before big games, things like that. I just thought, looking from afar, that it excited me, that’s the genuine reason.
“They like what they’re doing. They’re winning every week, they’ve Turner’s Cross, the crowd is fantastic, European football on the horizon, those were the things, really.
“Friday nights you’d be stuck in a hotel somewhere and you’d find it, or commentary or something like that. You see the highlights then after and you see Turner’s Cross looking well. For me, it was a quick, easy decision and I’m absolutely ecstatic to be back here.”
It is believed that Delaney turned down lucrative deals both from clubs in England and further afield in order to seal his move home.
And the centre-back was keen to insist that none of those alternatives excited him as much as wearing the green of Cork City.
“It was never about money,” he added.
“If I was about money, I’d have gone foreign and chased it. I understand full well that Cork City are under financial restrictions, they can’t compete with anything, but it’s my choice to come here.
“I chose this route so I’m not going to complain or say that I could have got this or could have got that.
“I knew what was on offer elsewhere and I knew what was on offer here and I chose this and I’m ecstatically happy to be here. It was more about playing football and getting my girlfriend a settled life.
“You know that feeling in your gut, you know it’s the correct thing to do. There was nothing really in England that held much water with me if I’m honest. There was a lot of things abroad as well and none of that excited me, either.
“Far-flung countries and promises of this, that and the other, which invariably never materialised or anything like that. This got me excited, that’s just basically it.”
During the press conference, Delaney was also asked about the curious well wishes he has received from AS Roma’s official English twitter page following the completion of this move.
And he insisted he can’t put his finger on the link between him and the Italian giants.
“I genuinely can’t,” he laughed,
“But people seem to be getting good mileage out of it. I don’t know, I’m not big on the whole social media thing, just people texting me saying what’s going on.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what it is, but I know there’s something there. It’s quite humorous, to be honest!
“There’s no story, definitely not the one going around about me saving someone or something like that, that’s definitely not true.
“I appreciate Roma for their efforts, maybe the guy that runs the account is possibly a Palace fan, I don’t know, I genuinely don’t know, that’s the only link I could possibly see.”