Nicola Furlong's devastated boyfriend said she will "live in my heart until it stops beating".
But Danny Furlong (22) said no sentence handed down to her killer, American dancer Richard Hinds, can ever bring Nicola back or undo the terrible suffering inflicted on her family and friends.
Danny, from Rosslare Strand and a former captain of Wexford Youths and now with Cork City FC, described the past year as "a total nightmare" for everyone.
"No sentence would have eased any of the pain caused," he said. "But (at least) Nic's name has been cleared and that is the main thing. I am disgusted that this journey has ended like this ... she can rest now. She will live in my heart until it stops beating," he vowed.
Danny said everyone was struggling to understand the term involved.
"It is all messed up (out there) . . . I don't think anyone can understand it," he told the Irish Independent. He cannot understand how a serious crime can, on conviction, be dealt with by such a light sentence of 10 years or less.
Danny and Nicola, childhood sweethearts, had planned to jet off to the sun together once she had returned from her college-organised student exchange in Japan. Instead, the footballer was one of the pall-bearers at Nicola's funeral.