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Emmett Bradley not thinking about Derry until Glen's Ulster Club run ends

Emmett Bradley (right) will be part of the Glen side chasing Ulster SFC glory against Kilcoo on Sunday
By Paul Keane

EMMETT Bradley will wait until Glen’s championship campaign concludes before making a decision about his inter-county future with reigning Ulster champions Derry.

The midfielder played a key role as an impact sub throughout last season’s Championship, the first player brought on in each of Derry’s games.

Curiously, Bradley was initially named by manager Rory Gallagher to start each of those matches in the official teamsheet before being replaced on each of the match days by Niall Toner.

With scores from the bench in each of their three Ulster games, against Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal, he proved a reliable performer and has since helped his club Glen to within 60 minutes of another provincial title this weekend.

If they lose to title holders Kilcoo then Bradley will have a question to answer regarding his Derry situation.

“I’ll meet that question once I’m finished up with Glen,” said Bradley.

“Obviously it’s been a long season and we’re delighted to still be involved at this stage of the year – it’s not too often that you’re still playing competitive championship football in December.

“I’m staying in the moment for now and the full focus is on Glen – as it has been for the last three or four months. I suppose I’ll meet that question down the way.”

Bradley shrugged off his role as an apparent decoy throughout the summer in those dummy Derry teams.

“I was aware of it after the League and I suppose that’s what the management felt the team needed at that given time,” he said.

“My focus at that stage was just whatever I can do for the team to push them in the right direction and try to get the result. That was my full focus at the time.

“The game nowadays, if you are not having 20 players minimum impacting the game positively, then you are not going to compete at the highest level.

“So, look, obviously I wouldn’t be content with the opportunity of the impact that you had, naturally. I think everybody would be the same but you have to put your ego to the side and make sure you do the right thing for the team and that’s what I was focused on at that time.”

His entire focus now is on becoming a double Ulster medallist in the same season, though reigning All-Ireland champions Kilcoo are favourites ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Athletic Grounds. When the sides met at the same venue at the semi-final stage last December, Kilcoo won by a goal after extra-time.

“They probably dominated that game for long parts, albeit it was very intense and very cagey,” said Bradley.

“It was sort of tit-for-tat, they probably just had that wee bit of an edge and we needed to go back and learn our lessons from that. Hopefully we can bring something different to the challenge on Sunday.”

The Maghera club turned on the afterburners in the closing stages of their Ulster quarter-final clash with Errigal Ciaran, though Bradley expected better generally. The same with the five-point defeat of Cargin.

“We probably just did enough [against Cargin] and we are not pleased with the overall performance, but pleased I suppose with the character we showed to not throw in the towel and to continue to chip away at them and break them down,” he said.

“Look, that’s something that stands to a group, especially with the lack of experience we have at provincial level in senior football. Definitely we need to improve, there’s no doubt.”

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