GAA Football

Killyclogher first priority then Mark Bradley aiming to resurrect his Tyrone career

Killyclogher's Mark Bradley. Picture by Seamus Loughran.
Francis Mooney

MARK Bradley says he’s ready to resurrect his Tyrone career after opting out of Mickey Harte’s squad this season.

Bradley spent the academic year in Liverpool, where he was studying for a teaching qualification, but he’s back home and keen to return to action in 2020.

Asked if he was keen to get back to playing inter-county football, he responded: “Of course. I’ve had no contact as yet, but for now I’ll just concentrate on club football, see how that goes.”

But he won’t have to wait long for that call, as manager Harte made it clear several months again that he was looking forward to having the ace attacker available again.

After completing his post-graduate teaching course, Bradley spent the summer in Boston, where he helped the Donegal club to the Boston Championship, followed by success in the All-American Championship.

Live television coverage of Tyrone’s Championship games helped him maintain a transatlantic connection with events back home, as he watched on with a feeling of helplessness, frustration and a longing to be there.

“It was gut-wrenching to watch how well they performed in the first half of the Kerry game, and very unfortunate that they couldn’t get over the line,” he said.

While he has no regrets over his decision to further his education outside of Ireland, Bradley admitted it was a difficult and painful call: “It was such a hard decision to make, but the decision was sort of made for me in that I wasn’t going to be finished up in England until July.

“Yes, it was disappointing not to be involved, but that was the decision I had to make.”

For Tyrone, it all ended in that semi-final defeat to a Kingdom side still very much in contention to halt the Dubs’ drive for five.

More compelling viewing awaits for Bradley tomorrow, but he has no doubt that Tyrone will be among the main contenders for Sam again next year:

“I have absolutely no doubt. We have been a top-four team now for the last couple of years.

“If you look, we’re continually making quarter-finals, semi-finals, final. So if you’re doing that consistently, you’re doing something well.

“It was a great year again, they’re continually making semi-finals and just very unlucky not to get to that final stage.”

For the moment, his focus is on club football and on Killyclogher’s efforts to go one step further than last year, when they lost the Tyrone SFC final to Coalisland.

They’re preparing for a repeat of the 2018 decider in this season’s quarter-final, a game that will make or break their season.

“That comes first, now, we’re in the business end of the season, and whatever happens after that, we’ll see,'' stated Bradley.

“It’s great to be back home with the boys, with your club. It’s nice to be away for the summer, but nice to be back now for the business end of the championship.”

Away from football, a career as a schoolteacher lies ahead, and with qualification secured, Bradley is currently on the look-out for employment.

“I’m finished up now as a primary school teacher, so if there’s any jobs going, I’d be more than happy to take one,” said the Tyrone attacker.

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