WATCH - Alan Bennett pays classy tribute to Derry City for reaction to Ryan McBride tragedy after league triumph
Cork City skipper Alan Bennett has heaped praise on Derry City for the manner with which they bounced back from Ryan McBride's tragic death to secure European qualification.
Last night's 0-0 draw at Turner's Cross was enough to give the Rebels their first league title since 2005 but also secured European football for the Candystripes in 2018.
It was a massive achievement for Kenny Shiels' side considering they have been playing their home games at Maginn Park in Buncrana while the Brandywell is being redeveloped and McBride's untimely passing.
The 27-year-old's death sent shockwaves through Irish football.
Speaking to RTE Sport after last night's game, Bennett said. "Just a point on Derry, at the start of the season they lost their captain Ryan McBride, a teammate, a player and it's incredible and an absolute credit to them how they pulled together and put together a really good season. That's them qualified for Europe next season.
"I don't think I'd have been able to do it after losing a friend. It's an absolute credit to them and congratulations to them.
On Cork City's third ever league triumph, he added: "It doesn’t happen very often and this club needs to be up there more often in my opinion. We have been second three times in-a-row, to finally get there this year is great
"I’m very proud of our back four all season, it’s quite a young back four, all great lads and I’m really proud of them.
"It wasn’t pretty, but two clean sheets got us over the line and only 19 goals conceded all year. Take out two games when we conceded five and that’s 14 in 30 games - that’s what championship seasons are built on.
"Obviously the lads up front did their stuff early doors and we got the points on the board."