“It’s a funny enough county" - Paddy Bradley on unusual trait in Donegal that other counties don't have
“It’s a funny enough county."
There were a lot of issues going on in the background that had to be dealt with, the likes of Donegal’s underage academy had a walkout of coaches, the senior manager stepped down, they were relegated from Division One and the injury list just got longer and longer.
Bradley, who had initially came in as part of the coaching staff, made the decision to take over the team alongside O’Rourke for the 2023 championship campaign, and although there was a lot of fires to put out, they still made some significant progress.
Speaking on the latest episode of the GAA Hour, during the launch of the AIB TheToughest preview of this weekend’s action, the former Derry star lifted the lid on why managing Donegal is different to any other county.
“I suppose whenever Aidan stepped down, I stepped down with him as a management team,” said Bradley.
“I suppose there’s a lot of different issues going on within Donegal at the minute, and it's maybe is up to Donegal to find a Donegal solution to them.
“Now to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed being here with them, even though there was a lot of stuff going on in the background, and we tried not to let that affect the team.
“It’s a funny enough county, in the sense that there’s two or three radio stations, there must be four or five different papers, and in every one of them there is a GAA chat show, or a GAA column from an ex-footballer or something like that, and everybody was having an opinion on everything.
“I had never come across that, that’s not the way things are for example in county Derry. So you’re always saying to players to not to read too much to what’s being said in the media, or social media, but you can't guard them from everything.
“At the end of the day, their families, their siblings, their friends are all reading this stuff and there probably was a lot of negativity towards the team, especially with all of the stuff going on in the background.”
Even with all of the outside noise, and negativity being spread around the place, inside the camp it was a much happier environment than many would have perceived.
“With that being said, I really enjoyed it, I think for Donegal moving forward - you take a look at the team that played Derry that night in Ballybofey, and compare that to the team that went out against Derry in the Ulster final last year, I think there was maybe nine or ten men unavailable for one reason or another.
“I think if Donegal get their injuries cleared up, the likes of Odhran McFadden Ferry would be back, Michael Langan would be back, Paddy McBrearty would obviously be back from the hamstring injury.
“Peadar Mogan would be back, the O’Donnells are in America, Ryan McHugh opted out for work reasons - I think if they get all of them boys back and when you look at the players that we brought through this year, the likes of Mark Curran, Rory O’Donnell, Oisin Gallen got a full year - I think Donegal football is in a very healthy position next year.
“But what they are going to do in terms of management next year, I don't know, I see the likes of Rory Kavanagh has already came out and said that he’s not interested, Martin Regan, the Glenties manager who has had a success over the years has said that he’s not interested.
“I suppose it’s up to them over the next wee while to try and find a solution as to where they want to go but I thoroughly enjoyed the year and they’re great lads.
“Obviously there is a lot of stuff going on in the background, and hopefully they do get their house in order.”
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