Damien Delaney says the move to Cork City was the easiest contract negotiations he has ever had as a footballer and is looking forward to the next chapter of his career.

The former Republic of Ireland defender has signed for his hometown club some 18 years after he last played for the Leesiders.

The 36-year-old signalled his wish to leave Crystal Palace last month after spending six successful seasons with the club and says it was time for a change.

"I’ve been in the UK for 18, 19 seasons. I spent so long in the Championship, the thoughts of going back in there wasn’t particularly appealing. It didn’t get me excited," he said.

Delaney spoke to manager John Caulfield "periodically" about the possibility of returning to Turner’s Cross, and says he didn’t need much convincing to make it a reality, despite offers in the UK and abroad.

"Looking from afar, it excited me. That’s the genuine reason. I like what they are doing. Winning every week, the crowd is fantastic, European football on the horizon. It gave me that feeling in my gut that it was the correct thing to do."

The nine-cap international, whose cross-channel career would encompass lengthy spells at Hull City (where he made well over 200 appearances), Ipswich Town and latterly Palace, insists money was not a motivating factor.

"If it was about money I would have gone foreign and chased it. I know well Cork City are under financial restrictions," he said.

"It was never about money. It was the easiest contract negotiations I ever had.

"I know what was on offer elsewhere, I know what was on offer here and I chose this."

Delaney won an FAI Youth Cup with Cork City in 1999/00 and would break into the first team squad that season, playing alongside his new manager John Caulfield, during the twilight of the latter's own playing career.

"I’ll definitely be sending Champions League clips to the lads in Palace"

Now the priority is to get match fit - "I’ll be ready by July 1 to compete for a place" - and can’t wait to get involved in City’s Champions League qualifying campaign, something he will be reminding his former Crystal Palace team-mates all about in due course.

"I’ll definitely be sending clips of that to the lads in Palace. They would laugh at me if they saw me with the music [Champions League] in the background."