Hero ‘keeper Bradley in dreamland

By Michael McMullan

CONNLAN Bradley struggled to put the enormity of winning a club All-Ireland into words after Sunday’s rollercoaster win over St Brigid’s.

Eventually he uses dreamland to describe winning the biggest prize in club football in the most iconic stadium in the land.

The Glen ‘keeper, who made an vital first-half save to deny Ben O’Carroll, thought they’d blown their chance of glory at different moments in Sunday’s Croke Park showdown.

They simply tapped into the mantra management duo Malachy O’Rourke and Ryan Porter drummed into them.

Never, ever, stop plugging away to the final whistle. It’s simplistic and was bolted on the back of a training regime that had them primed to last the pace.

“It has been a real focus of ours to never give up the focus until the last and I think we are always very strong in the last quarter,” said Bradley, who pointed to games they won in the final moments.

Glen were wasteful at one end and allowed too much room for Ben O’Carroll to operate in.

It was a combination that saw the Wattys struggle, especially with the amount of cheap possession they coughed up, and St Brigid’s steered the ball into the space for O’Carroll to work his magic.

Glen had Conor Glass to thank for vital interceptions. Tiarnan Flanagan made a block when the house was down and Bradley made a vital save after Ruaidhrí Fallon had put O’Carroll through.

“He (O’Carroll) was going that fast, I was like, he is never going to be able to side-foot that,” said Bradley. Standing outside the bus, deep under the Hogan stand, he put his key contribution into words.

“Thankfully he was going across his body… I thought he was going to go further into the corner and I ended up saving it with my knees.

“I was just happy to keep it out at that stage. It would’ve been a big kick in the teeth if that had went in.”

St Brigid’s were four points ahead with half-time approaching before Jody McDermott’s goal and an Ethan Doherty point levelled matters.

Glen’s world caved in again and Bradley was picking the ball out of the net within minutes of the restart when O’Carroll played in Brian Derwin to palm home.

Glen moved Ryan Dougan to O’Carroll and Bradley – an outfield player until his conversion at the start of the 2020 season – pressed out as an extra man on St Brigid’s kick-outs. It was time to go for broke.

“He (St Brigid’s goalkeeper Cormac Sheehy) hasn’t the longest kick in the world but he we was good at finding those short to medium kicks,” said Bradley.

“We had to press – there was no point in sitting back at that stage. Boys were screaming at me to push up so we had to go for it.”

Michael Warnock’s point and a game-changing goal from Conor Glass levelled matters before points from Emmett Bradley and Conleth McGuckian put Glen on their way to making history.

“It is complete dreamland,” Bradley said. “When I started playing, I never thought I was going to win a Derry Championship, never mind an All-Ireland, so it is incredible.

“I cannot really put it into words at this stage. It is amazing, I don’t really know what to say, it is the best feeling ever.

“To see all the three cups sitting in middle of the changing room and you are standing looking at them, it is incredible.

“I never thought I would see John McLaughlin, never mind the two (Ulster and All-Ireland cups) beside it, it’s dreamland.”

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