Cork City defender John Dunleavy has admitted his relief at finally returning to first team football and has set his sights on lifting more trophies for the club this season. The 25-year old made his long awaited return to John Caulfield’s starting
Cork City defender John Dunleavy has admitted his relief at finally returning to first team football and has set his sights on lifting more trophies for the club this season.
The 25-year old made his long awaited return to John Caulfield’s starting eleven last Friday night as the Leesiders started the new campaign with a hard fought win away to Finn Harps.
The Donegal native, who grew up close to Finn Park in Ballybofey, hasn’t featured for the Cork club since injuring his knee in training last June and admitted his relief following his return to action.
“I was a bit stiff over the weekend, it was my first game in a long, long time, I put in a lot of hard work so to get back out there was a real relief, it was brilliant,” enthused Dunleavy.
“It’s going to take me time to get up to match fitness and match sharpness but I felt good felt fit so hopefully the hard work I did will stand to me.
“I was hoping to get some time in the game but then the manager asked me was I ok to start so I was always going to say yes, maybe it was meant to be for me to make my comeback in my hometown but the most important thing was the result.”
“It’s a tough place to go regardless of when you go in the season but the first game, big crowd and then the conditions contributed to it as well it was more a test of character and resilience than being able to show our quality .
“There was period where we absolutely dominated but we couldn’t get that second goal to get over the line but I think in terms of character we were excellent.”
City have made a great start to the new season as they retained the Presidents Cup win a convincing win over Dundalk at Turners Cross before securing the three points against Harps.
And Dunleavy, who missed the FAI Cup final win over the Lilywhites at the Aviva Stadium in November has stated his desire to lift more trophies whilst stressing the importance of taking it one game at a time.
“I would have given my right arm to have played on the day (of the final), the pressures on Cork to win trophies, that’s what people expect down here and to play with a big club like that you have to be challenging for something,” added Dunleavy.
“Personally, I would give anything to lift a trophy at the end of the year, first and foremost I just need to stay fit from week to week and take it from there.
“Week to week for us is just to focus on our own performance and when we do that then there is very few teams who can live with us.
“We clearly have quality in the squad and quality through every position, no name is safe on the team sheet but we also have a lot of character, a lot of fight and bite, we can mix it when needs be so its just about focussing on week to week.
Next up for Cork is a tricky looking fixture against Galway United at Turners Cross on Friday evening and the City number four believes it is imperative they turn the home stadium into a fortress.
“Friday was a start but the next step is Galway and we need to do the same again,” added Dunleavy.
“No doubt its going to be important for us, we need to turn Turners Cross into a fortress.
“It’s never nice for teams to come down here I’m sure they don’t look forward to it and this year will be no different.
“They might come down with a point to prove but we can’t look at them, we can only look at ourselves and if our level of our performance is right up there then we know it will be difficult for anyone to live with us.
“There’s no easy games in the league this year, there was even a few results on Friday night that you would turn your eyebrows up at.
“You can’t take anything for granted this year it really is about how you play week to week and Friday night, hopefully in front of a bumper crowd, it will be great to get off to a flying home start.”