Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Why winning Irish League title tops Wembley promotion, says Crusaders hero Brian Jensen

Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

With a play-off victory at Wembley and a full season in the Premier League already on the CV, few players would rate any afternoon in the Irish League as the most special of their careers.

But Brian Jensen is no ordinary player. The affable Dane landed his first ever league title at the age of 42 on Saturday, when his 83rd-minute wonder-save helped Crusaders to pip Coleraine to the post in the most thrilling of season climaxes.

"It's my first year at Crusaders and my first title so I'm absolutely delighted. It has been a long time but there's life in the old dog yet," he laughed, taking a momentary pause from posing for countless photographs with supporters. "For the club to win it back and bring it back to Seaview, it's a great achievement for the lads."

Hs long-awaited league medal arrives nine years after that 1-0 play-off win over Sheffield United during his decade at Burnley. And as special as that day was, even a Wembley win didn't leave Jensen as speechless Saturday's 2-1 success over Ballymena United.

"It's different," he mused. "To get promoted and go to the Premiership is completely different but this is even more special for me because it's a title. My first one. I'm lost for words, to be honest."

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Crusaders keeper Brian Jensen took his time to pose for a string of photographs with supporters after the final whistle.

Jensen, having spent just one season at Seaview, is already a firm fan-favourite. The string of supporters queuing up for a photograph on the Showgrounds pitch was testament to that. He played 30 of his side's Premiership fixtures this season, keeping 10 clean sheets along the way.

But no save made during the campaign could top Saturday's fingertip effort to deny Kevin Braniff's top-corner-bound header, with some of his adoring fans hailing it as just as important as a goal.

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Brian Jensen laps up the praise from Crusaders supporters after the final whistle.

"It's probably because of the timing," said the modest keeper. "If we go 2-1 down at the time, it could look like it was all over for us. It's about time I pulled one out of the bag, I'm just happy for all the lads and for the club itself.

"We've got a great set of lads and I can't wait to celebrate with them tonight."

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Brian Jensen finally gets his hand on the league trophy.

It's a league title party that Jensen richly deserves, and one that his smile indicates is well worth the wait.

'Unbelievable - I'm buzzing' 🏆 Emotional Crusaders hero David Cushley (and a delighted Brian Jensen 😂) react to the...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Saturday, April 28, 2018

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