Northern Ireland

Liverpool FC’s Conor Bradley told father was ‘always proud of you, not just because of the goal you scored’

Joe Bradley (left) who died on Saturday morning, just three days after his son Conor (right) scored his first goal for Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Joe Bradley (left) who died on Saturday morning, just three days after his son Conor (right) scored his first goal for Liverpool on Wednesday night

LIVERPOOL star Conor Bradley has been told of his late father’s pride in watching him score his first goal for the club just days before his death.

Father-of-three Joe Bradley (58) passed away at his home in the village of Killen on Saturday following a long illness.

A family notice said he was the beloved husband of Linda, father of Niall, Conor and Joanne as well as a grandfather of three.

Requiem Mass was held in St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran, followed by interment afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Last week, his 20-year-old Premier League star son scored his first goal for Liverpool, earning a man of the match performance against Chelsea.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  06/02/2024
TUESDAY 6th FEBRUARY 2024, AGHYARAN: Mourners gathered at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran on Tuesday afternoon for the funeral of Joe Bradley, father of Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley.
Joe Bradley funeral Co Tyrone Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran on Tuesday afternoon for the funeral of his father Joe Bradley. PACEMAKER BELFAST


Parish Priest Fr Paul Fraser told mourners: “The memory of Joe has brought a smile to our faces even in the midst of sadness.”

Spending his childhood in Killen, where he also raised his own family, he was known for his hard work and love of driving.

A well-known businessman in the Castlederg area, Mr Bradley ran his van dealership firm Derg Commercials for years next door to the family home.

TUESDAY 6th FEBRUARY 2024, AGHYARAN: Mourners gathered at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran on Tuesday afternoon for the funeral of Joe Bradley, father of Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley.
Mourners at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran for the funeral of Joe Bradley, father of Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley.

In the late 1990s he met his wife Linda in a nightclub in Raphoe , who surprised him by offering to buy him a drink.

Spending the whole night chatting, Linda said she had been impressed by the way he spoke about his mother and caring for her when she was ill.

Five years later, they were married in St Patrick’s Church.

“I want to use the word romance very lightly and loosely, because Linda recalled to me how on her wedding day – having spent four hours getting her make up done and hair done – and walking down the aisle,” Fr Fraser said.

“Her hand was placed in Joe’s, and Joe said to her ‘I sold a van this morning.’”

Raising their young family and managing a business meant the children would often go to bed in Killen and wake up in Cork.

“That was what the work demanded. And the whole family worked together and were together.”

PACEMAKER BELFAST  06/02/2024
TUESDAY 6th FEBRUARY 2024, AGHYARAN: Mourners gathered at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran on Tuesday afternoon for the funeral of Joe Bradley, father of Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley.
Mourners gathered at St Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran for the funeral of Joe Bradley, father of Liverpool FC star Conor Bradley. PICTURE: PACEMAKER

Proud of all three of his children, he said: “Joe had a big heart for family and friends and was proud of what Niall achieved in his working life, seeing his own business flourish.

“Of course, when Niall and Jenna made Joe a grandfather that was a source of great pride for him as well, seeing the next generation and enjoying their energy.

“When I spoke to Conor and asked what he had learned from his father, he learned it was to be nice to everyone and not to do a job half-heartedly.

“Joe expected everybody to give 100% just as he did himself. He wasn’t just a man who loved to drive vans and any kind of vehicle, he was a man who was driven to make the most of every day.

“Conor, we know, shared that drive of his father. And of course you have the joy and comfort of knowing that your father, who followed your career so closely saw you score that goal last week.

“He wasn’t just proud of you because of the goal you scored. He was proud of the person that you are, that you became.”

He continued: “Joanne, called after your daddy. Sharing the same birthday, they just absolutely adored each other- his little princess.

“He was so proud of what you achieved in school in your GCSEs and your AS exams.

“But I think it’s probably true to say that he was much more thrilled and more proud of the fact that you passed your driving test.”

Mr Bradley’s health began to suffer when his daughter was young, eventually learning his condition was life-limiting to around seven years.

“Conor described Joe as having a fire in him, and of course the doctors reckoned without team Joe and Linda as well,” said Fr Fraser.

“They were determined to fight.”

Having visited Mr Bradley at home when he was unwell, he praised his bravery and thanked those who had cared for him so well.

“Joe was given the dignity of being a husband and a daddy right up till the very end.

This week, Liverpool FC commented that the club was “deeply saddened” by Mr Bradley’s death.

“The thoughts of everybody at the club are with Conor and all of the Bradley family at this very difficult and sad time.

“On behalf of Conor, LFC strongly urges that the family’s privacy is fully respected at this time.”