By Michael McMullan
EMMETT Bradley doesn’t read too much into form, but the Glen midfielder admits his side need to improve massively this weekend.
That’s where he sees his side over the next few days as they prepare for their first ever Ulster senior final against All-Ireland champions Kilcoo.
“Personally, I don’t buy too much into form,” Bradley said when asked if the Ulster campaign to date will hold much sway this Sunday.
“Even through the Derry championship we weren’t really on song a lot of the time. We were doing enough and we were competing very hard.
“Things probably only came together for us, in that campaign, in the final. We clicked a bit there, which was great for us. We are confident we have that performance in us.
“We are well aware that the performance we produced against Errigal, for large parts, and Cargin, it won’t be enough to beat Kilcoo and we know that.”
Kilcoo have been impressive in their wins over both Ballybay and Enniskillen and Bradley disagrees with the school of thought that the Magpies struggled through the Down championship.
“I know how tough they get it in that campaign,” Bradley said. “They have been very impressive in the last couple of Ulster championship games and have brushed aside two really strong teams moving into this final.”
Sunday’s showdown is a repeat of last year’s semi-final when Bradley rose highest to fist a Ciaran McFaul lob over Niall Kane’s crossbar to force extra time.
Conor Glass edged the Watties in front before Paul Devlin capitalised on a shanked kick-out and a slip to feed Jerome Johnston for Kilcoo’s killer goal in a 1-11 to 0-11 win.
While not having sat to trawl it all, Bradley has watched “large parts” of the game to suss out where it all panned out and he admits that Kilcoo controlled much of the action.
“The small thing we can take out of that game was that we finished strong enough,” he said. “Ultimately it wasn’t enough to get over the line against Kilcoo and we’ll hopefully be looking to learn a few lessons from that game.
“We all know how formidable an outfit Kilcoo are, they have been in the last two All-Ireland finals, they’ve won numerous Down championships. We know we have to improve.”
Was last year’s joust with the eventual champions the toughest club game he was involved in?
It’s up there. But and he finds it hard to separate it from the battles with their neighbouring Emmet’s and Magherafelt also comes to mind.
The Rossa pipped them in the 2019 decider and were on their coattails in this year’s Derry quarter-final before Stevie O’Hara’s goal put Glen a point ahead when the game sat in the mixer.
“It’s difficult to measure,” said Bradley when weighing last year’s Kilcoo game against some of their other chastening experiences.
“You had no time on the ball, they (Kilcoo) maybe felt the same at times. It was an intense game, it was a cagey game.
“We are used to playing that type of game if we need to. Naturally, we would be quite a free flowing team traditionally, but if we need to slow the game and at our own pace or to match another team…we have shown that we are capable of doing that as well.
“We will have a look at that game and see can we take something from it. All we can really do is prepare as best we try and flag up some of the very rare weaknesses you would find on that outfit.
“Every game is a game in itself. Anything can happen on the day and we are confident if we can get our house in order we can give them a really good test on Sunday.”