Patsy Bradley is the hardiest fecker in Slaughtneil. Patsy Bradley did not deserve to lose 1 year ago

Patsy Bradley is the hardiest fecker in Slaughtneil. Patsy Bradley did not deserve to lose

For the second time in three years, the remarkable Slaughtneil have been defeated in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day.

The Derry club won the Ulster football, hurling and camogie titles this year, but only the camógs tasted All-Ireland glory - the hurlers falling at the penultimate stage and Mickey Moran's men of mettle were beaten 1-9 to 1-7 by Kerry champions Dr Crokes yesterday.

Some were critical of Crokes' physical approach and Maurice Deegan's refereeing, but that is a dangerous game to play with Slaughtneil. These boys can play (my god, can Chrissy McKaigue play) but if you want to mix it, they will mix it.

Unfortunately for the Ulster champions, they had midfielder Padraig Cassidy sent off after he raised a hand to Kieran O'Leary. The shrewd Kerryman was shrewd and Slaughtneil were down to 14 men.

Thankfully one of those 14 was Cassidy's midfield partner Patsy Bradley.

The Derry legend put in one of those performances that will be spoken about for years to come, even in defeat. He didn't score, nor did he play a plethora of killer passes, but what he did do was put his body on the line again and again and again.

Kieran Donaghy knew the writing was on the wall at half-time, but he also knew who he would want on his side when the chips were down.

We don't know if Donaghy is referring to football or basketball here, but we imagine he would take Bradley on any team. We reckon the veteran midfielder could do damage under a rebound.

Bradley is one of those players who would put his head were most would not put a shovel. Even in Slaughtneil, where men are men and nothing came easy, Bradley is considered tougher than most.

If there is a ball to be won, Bradley will dive on it.

If there is a fight with terrible odds to be fought, he'll fight it.

When you approach the game with this kind of attitude you are going to do yourself a mischief. And so it came to pass that Bradley had his face busted open when reclaiming a ball in his defence. Jordan Kiely receiving a yellow card for giving Patsy a claret jersey.

A study in 'not bothered': Patsy Bradley with a busted lip.

He got patched up and came back out for a second half that was going to test Slaughtneil - no better team than Crokes to make use of a big pitch and a numerical advantage.

That they only won by two points owes much to the industry of Bradley, who once more had to leave the field in the closing stages after he had the back of his head split open.

Under referee's orders he left the fray only to return in a blood-free Number 29 jersey but the same bloody-minded attitude. He was still harassing Crokes as they passed the ball back and forth throughout injury-time.

The man is a warrior, a machine, the toughest there is. People could not decide on what exactly Patsy was, only that we could all do with being a little more like him.

 

Patsy Bradley is Patsy Bradley. Give Kieran Donaghy a team of Patsy Bradleys and he'd give you the world.