Ballybofey native Johnny Dunleavy will captain Cork City in the Airtricity League Premier Division for the coming season.
The 22-year-old was confirmed as the Turner’s Cross side’s skipper on Thursday by new manager John Caufield.
“It’s a massive honour and I’m over the moon,” Dunleavy said. “Cork City is a massive club and I love it here.
“It’s a really nice city and the people here are so friendly. I’m well settled now.”
Cork City returned to pre-season training last week and one of their upcoming friendlies will be against Finn Harps in Galway on February 2.
“I’ve never played against Finn Harps before so it’s something I will certainly look forward to,” Dunleavy continued.
“It’ll be great to play against them. It’s just a pity it’s not in Finn Park because I’ve only trained or played the odd in-house game there.”
Dunleavy, who has been capped by the Republic of Ireland from U-15 to U-21 and been captain at various times, joined Wolverhampton Wanderers academy in October 2006 from Ballybofey United and signed a two-year professional contract.
In January 2011 he had a loan spell at League Two side Barnet, where he made his professional debut in a game against Southend.
The central defender, who also lines out in midfield, made three appearances before suffering ligament damage during training that ended his season. He joined Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps on trial in 2011 before signing for Cork.
Dunleavy is heading into his third season on Leeside having joined the club two years ago this week.
At the time, Cork had just been promoted and after two solid seasons back in the top flight - they have finished sixth last in each of the last two campaigns.
Now, Dunleavy believes the club who won the Premier Division back in 2005 can push further up the table.
“We’ve been mid-table the last couple of seasons,” Dunleavy added. “But we’d love to be that little but competitive this season.
“We just want to progress and - funny enough - we tend to play well against the big teams.”
“We play St Patrick’s Athletic in the first match and it should be good with them being the reigning champions with Keith Fahey back.
“There’s massive potential here at Cork City. The fan base is incredible so if we can get a run going, we could turn Turner’s Cross into a fortress.”