French striker Campion's cup final goal made him a firm Cork City favourite

French striker Campion's cup final goal made him a firm Cork City favourite
Cork City's Achille Campion celebrates the winning penalty with Mark McNulty at the Aviva. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

FRENCHMAN Achille Campion will get a warm welcome whenever he makes the trip to Leeside in the future.

Campion wrote his name into Cork City FC folklore during the 2017 FAI Cup final, against old foes of the Rebel Army in the form of Dundalk.

The attacker came on as a substitute during extra-time at the Aviva Stadium and equalised with nine minutes remaining, after Niclas Vemmelund had put the Lilywhites ahead.

Getting onto the end of a floated pass by Karl Sheppard, Campion chested the ball down before finishing beyond Dundalk shot stopper Gary Rogers.

Of course we all know what happened next, as City went on to win the silverware via a penalty shootout and the Rebel Army secured a historic league and cup double.

As a result of his very significant contribution that cup final day, Campion will always be remembered for scoring a goal of historical significance for City.

When The Echo chats with Achille, that memorable moment in the Aviva is one of the first ports of call for this interview.

“Yeah it was a good memory for me, but also for all of us. As a team that was the ultimate goal of the season.

“So to have scored that for all of us, you can score a goal and get the glory as a striker, but it is way more than that in football.

“You have the likes of Alan Bennett at the back, he has been busting his nuts for the whole season.

“It was a reward for all of us. It is something you share, not something you take individually.” 

Cork City goalscorer Achille Campion with the FAI Cup on Grand Parade. Picture: Doug Minihane
Cork City goalscorer Achille Campion with the FAI Cup on Grand Parade. Picture: Doug Minihane

Campion was at City during a fruitful period for the club in 2017 and he enjoyed being apart of a dressing room which possessed such a strong winning mentality.

“Cork is a fantastic club with a fantastic backing from the fans. So what I remember from my time there was just a good atmosphere to play in front of with a fantastic, positive attitude. There was a hunger to win things.

“It was a fantastic achievement. Also to this day, I believe we could have even further in Europe. But at the end of the day, we did what we did and it was history.

“The mentality of the squad was fantastic, from every single player. I think that was the main thing that made the difference that season.

“Everybody was on at every training and every match. I think the results speak for themselves at the end of the season.” 

Having played with USL Dunkerque in his native France as a youth, Campion moved to the United States to study and play football with Belhaven Blazers, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, Baton Rouge Capitals, and Ventura County Fusion , before joining Swedish First Division side Norrby IF in 2014.

He also had playing spells in England with Port Vale and Torquay United, before arriving in Ireland in 2016, when he joined Sligo Rovers.

Campion scored four goals in eleven appearances for Sligo, before John Caulfield brought him to Leeside in November of that year.

In January 2018, Achille went on loan to Linfield for the rest of that NIFL season, before a brief playing spell followed with St Patrick’s Athletic. Now though he is focusing on his life away from football.

“All of my clubs have been fantastic to me. From playing in Sligo to playing in Port Vale, to playing in California and in Sweden. It has all been an amazing experience and I am very grateful to have had this journey.

“I have learned many things about myself and football. The different styles of play. For example before I came to Cork City, I was more of a player that played on the ground.

“Playing counter attacking football was totally new to me. I had to adjust and lost five or six kilos during my time at Cork City, reshaping my body to what was needed for the team.

“So that took a massive effort from me. You learn from every experience.

“I am living between Barcelona and France. I am doing an MBA (Masters In Business Administration).

“It is super nice to enjoy my time after football. I just had a kid, so that is keeping me busy. But I am having the time of my life and it is fantastic.” 

Overall, it is clear he still holds Cork City FC close to his heart. Whenever Campion returns to Leeside and Turners Cross for a City game in the future, the Rebel Army fateful will be forever thankful to him for that goal against Dundalk in the Aviva Stadium.

“I am always in contact with people at the club. It is a truly fantastic club,” declares Campion.

“I still follow Cork City FC and I still talk to Benno. It was great to go to his testimonial and I met up with a great bunch of lads from Cork and other lads who played for the club.

“It was nice to see all different generations come together for the club.

“I hope to come and do a bit of commentary on the radio or TV in the next few years hopefully. I will definitely come back to Cork, I love the place.” 

You will indeed do well to find a more popular Frenchman on Leeside than Campion.

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