Bradley loving the buzz at Steelstown

By Michael McMullan

THE enthusiasm in Eoghan Bradley’s voice tells it all. Everyone in Steelstown is buzzing with their senior team’s journey to Sunday’s Ulster final showdown with Moortown.

Bradley, now in his sixth season with the senior team, has bagged 3-8 in their campaign so far and explains how the excitement has been building in recent months.

“You’d be in the gym some nights and you’d see minors doing their gym work and there would be circuits in the hall,” he said.

“Everyone is chatting about the game, asking how we are training and how we are getting on.”

The excitement is filtering through the entire club, one of the youngest in Derry having only been formed in 1987.

There is awareness that they could make history by being the first team from the club to win an Ulster Championship.

“We are getting texts from people and their children are buzzing for the matches and it really is brilliant for the club,” Bradley added.

“If the seniors are doing well, it gives everyone a push, as the senior team you set the standard for the whole club. If we are doing well, it breeds success for everyone else.”

Standing in their way are Moortown, who aim to become the fifth different Tyrone club to lift the Packie McCully Cup.

Steelstown’s approach won’t change. Moortown’s strengths and weaknesses will be assessed, while having a look at how they set up.

“Tyrone club football is mad competitive, they are a great team and it will probably be our toughest test so far,” Bradley admitted, while also highlighting the unknown factor of playing teams in Ulster.

“You have nothing to compare them against; you are watching one or two matches and you can’t tell a lot from there,” he said.

“You can’t compare two teams that have never played each other. You go out and trust your ability, the coaching and the tactics trust the players that are marking the other team’s key players.”

Since Cahir McMonagle’s injury time free against Greenlough in the Derry final, Steelstown have clocked up three notable performances in Ulster, all built on the on the confidence from ending their run of three county final defeats.

“After that, it was complete freedom to go out and express ourselves and we knew we always had the ability and we have class players,” Bradley pointed out.

“We have got scores at the right times in the last few matches and you need a bit of luck to give you a bit of momentum and momentum is everything in team sport.”

He casts his mind back to the preliminary round win over Donegal outfit Cloughaneely, when they dominated the game and were four points clear with 10 minutes to go.

“We should’ve probably kicked on and beat them by six or seven,” added Bradley, who pinpoints a missed free by Jason McGee that would’ve left just a point between the teams.

It meant the Donegal champions needed to try to engineer a goal from free in stoppage time only for the crossbar to save Steelstown.

“You need the rub of the green in competitions like that,” Bradley said. “We were the better team, they got a great goal but it was against the run of play.”

Having beaten one of the competition favourites,it gave Steelstown the springboard to beat a fancied
Donaghmoyne side from Monaghan and Cavan champions Butlersbridge.

Sunday marks their chance to bring an Ulster title to Derry city.


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