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Championship

Delaney dazed after final triumph

31 May 2013

Damien Delaney admits he met up with the Republic of Ireland squad earlier this week in a daze.

The 31-year-old defender was a late arrival at the team hotel after enduring an energy-sapping 120 minutes at a sun-drenched Wembley Stadium as Palace and Watford fought out the npower Championship play-off final, in which 39-year-old Kevin Phillips' extra-time penalty secured Barclays Premier League football for the Eagles.

Four days on, the full-back was still coming to terms with the implications of a game he will ultimately remember for the rest of his life. He said: "The lads were absolutely ecstatic, but I was very drained, if I am being honest."

Delaney added: "I was just sitting down taking it all in as best I could. The lads were going mad with the champagne, and it was a good dressing room. I haven't had a chance to sit down and think about it yet or had a chance to celebrate with the lads yet, but I am sure we will get something done over the summer.

"I went home on Monday night after the game and that was kind of it. I had breakfast on Tuesday morning and then had to get a cab to Luton, so that's what I did. Then it was straight in here and your mindset switches pretty much straight away to the Ireland team and the Ireland training.

"It's a good thing, but I don't think it will really hit me until maybe the first day of the season when you are given that jersey with the Premier League badge on the side of it. That's always what I have been looking forward to, and maybe it will hit me then."

Delaney, who has a year left on his existing contract, remains relaxed about his own future, and also about Palace's hopes of retaining their top-flight status next season.

He said: "People are going to say we are going to need to sign players, but I'll tell you what, team spirit will take you a hell of a long way. You look at the likes of the teams who have gone up, Swansea, Norwich, Southampton - they all went up and stayed up, and they didn't spend millions.

"They bought astutely and they kept the nucleus and the team spirit, which is what we have. What we are built on, to be honest with you, at Palace is that type of team spirit, that togetherness and the genuine friendship we have.

"We genuinely like each other. We wouldn't spend as much time as we do on and off the pitch - and believe me, we do spend a lot of time together off the pitch socialising and hanging out and going for dinner and whatever. If we can keep the basis of that and add to it, then the sky is the limit for us."


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