Bradley makes surprise return to Derry squad

Eoin Bradley, Derry

Eoin Bradley will make a dramatic return to the Derry squad next season after getting a surprise recall by Brian McIver.

The Oak Leaf boss did not select the prolific full-forward this year because of his soccer commitments with Irish League sides Coleraine and Glenavon.

However, Bradley’s impressive form for Glenullin during the club championship has convinced McIver to change his mind and Bradley, 30, has revealed he will combine both codes in the spring.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Derry again,” he said.

“I had a chat with Brian and he is happy enough for me to play both games. I always hoped I would be back and I’ve already started a weights programme to get ready for next season.”

Bradley was badly missed this year as Derry struggled to build on a league final appearance and failed to win a championship match. His last inter-county appearance was an All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Cavan 16 months ago, before signing a contract with Coleraine in September 2013.

His season with the north-west club was so successful he attracted the attention of Irish Cup champions Glenavon, and he signed for Gary Hamilton’s side in May.

McIver subsequently declined to bring Bradley into the Derry squad ahead of the Ulster championship clash with Donegal, insisting the former All Star nominee had ‘made his decision’.

Now the manager has had a rethink, Bradley expects to play an impact role off the bench during the league before concentrating fully on Derry once the soccer season concludes in May.

“I definitely won’t be playing in the McKenna Cup or anything, but we will see how it goes in the league,” Bradley said.

“I would say it’ll be more of a bench role. Of course, I could play two days running, but I don’t think you’d be 100%fit to perform to your best.

“If I can play 15, 20 minutes I’m sure Brian would be happy enough. But it’s only November so I will continue playing the soccer for now.”

Bradley proved at the weekend he’s still got the fitness and ability to combine both codes. He played 90 minutes for Glenavon in the mid-Ulster derby against Portadown on Saturday and just a few hours later, he came off the bench for an Ulster select in a charity GAA match at Kingspan Stadium, scoring two trademark left-footed points and causing problems for Dublin fullback Philly McMahon.


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