Saturday 25 November 2017

Patsy Bradley: Slaughtneil rise is due to Mickey Moran

Patsy Bradley, Slaughtneil
Patsy Bradley, Slaughtneil
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Slaughtneil midfielder Patsy Bradley has hailed the tactical acumen of evergreen coach Mickey Moran ahead of Sunday's AIB All-Ireland club football semi-final against Austin Stacks.

Moran has the distinction of managing more counties at senior level than any other manager - including Mick O'Dwyer - with stints with Derry (twice), Sligo, Donegal, Mayo and Leitrim.

But his success in guiding Slaughtneil to only a second Derry senior title and a first provincial crown ranks right up there with anything he has achieved in his coaching career.

Derry clubs dominate the Ulster roll of honour, with seven clubs winning 13 titles between them. But Slaughtneil's 2014 victory in such a competitive championship is among those to stand out.

Gentleman

"Mickey would be a very quiet man," said Derry midfielder Bradley. "He's vocal when he has to be but he's a real gentleman and has been involved in a lot of teams.

"Maybe in years gone past, as a small club you go out and play off the cuff and hope for the best. This year Mickey has brought more tactical awareness and more of a game-plan."

Slaughtneil swept the boards in a memorable season and Bradley doesn't believe "we'll ever see the likes of it again".

"I think the only thing we missed out on was the camogie. We were beaten by Owenroe in the final. But we picked up most other trophies," he said.

"For the community, it has done massive things. We're not a big club, we're a very, very small club and everybody knows everybody.

"It just hasn't come together up until now. You would ask yourself the question in the past, is it ever going to come? Our last win in Derry was 10 years ago and it wasn't looking good but I'm glad I stuck in there and it's great just to be part of it."

Bradley says Slaughtneil won't exert all their energy on dealing with the obvious threat of Stacks' totemic forward Kieran Donaghy.

"That's probably the thing you'd be afraid of," he admitted. "But that's not the case, one man doesn't make a team. If you your focus is solely on Kieran Donaghy, you're going to let your focus off some other man who is going to step up to the mark."

Meanwhile, Corofin's Gary Sice accepts that the Galway club have underachieved at this level in the recent past, with previous semi-final defeats in 2008 and '09.

"We've come to this stage in two other years we didn't drive on. We've had good players so hopefully this time we can fulfil what's been spoken about and what (potential) we have," he said.

"We were a young squad in those years, many of us hadn't been there before. We weren't naive but maybe Kilmacud in 2008 were more seasoned.

"We were missing one or two lads like Mike Comer - he was a serious Galway player at that stage. You need everyone."

Offaly GAA is mourning the death of former county player Mickey Gunning, a brother of former All-Ireland winner and well known referee Jody.

Irish Independent

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