Nothing has changed in the Derry camp insists Bradley

By Michael McMullan

DERRY’S Emmett Bradley has dismissed any rumours of discontent in the camp or any revolt against manager Mickey Harte.

Speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland Championship at his home club Glen, Bradley – who scored Derry’s vital goal to sink Westmeath – said nothing has changed in the camp.

The Oakleafers have Mayo as their full focus and Bradley is also fully aware a bigger performance is needed this weekend.

Their build-up to last weekend’s win over Westmeath was dominated by incessant rumours that Harte’s position as manager was under threat to the level that Derry GAA John Keenan came out to quash that narrative.

“It’s very easy for people to spin these things when things aren’t going well,” Bradley said calmly, seated in the dressing rooms at Watty Graham Park.

“We’ve carried on the same format of training, the same format of reflection of games as we have when we were winning the National League.

“Obviously, we’re all really disappointed with how we’ve performed in the Ulster Championship and the group stages to date, but nothing’s changed in terms of the group or how we approach things.

“It’s just the responsibility for us as a playing group to face up to it and try and improve our performance moving forward.”

Bradley, who is set to make a 75th senior appearance for Derry in Castlebar this weekend, made a return to intercounty action this season after missing their 2023 Ulster winning campaign.

On the back of helping Glen to All-Ireland glory, he has featured in every game since coming into the league final win over Dublin.

While his goal was vital in Newry, Bradley was quick to credit Diarmuid Baker with making the chance that helped Derry end their run of disappointing results.

“I don’t think I can put my finger on any one particular thing, to be honest,” Bradley said of their dip in form

“The Donegal (Ulster Championship) game was one of the things, they probably had the eye on us for six months.

“From what I’ve heard of the way they operated, that focus was narrowed entirely to that game…and fair play to them,” Bradley acknowledged.

“They produced a serious performance that day, albeit we certainly weren’t at it in terms of being able to match it.

“Sometimes in your preparation, you think you’re prepared for it but you can very easily miss it. So it’s difficult to put a finger on it with that regard.

“Momentum can swing very easily when you leak goals like that and it’s hard to swim against that tide sometimes whenever you’re in the moment.

“It’s important for us to be able to find ways to deal with that in-game. We did it a little bit better against Westmeath. We certainly know it won’t be good enough for Mayo.”

Check out Thursday’s Gaelic Life for more buildup to this weekend’s All-Ireland SFC games.

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