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Glenavon star among thousands stranded in Egypt by flight ban

By Cate McCurry

Published 06/11/2015

Tourists queue at Sharm el-Sheikh airport
Tourists queue at Sharm el-Sheikh airport
Glenavon footballer Eoin Bradley

Glenavon striker Eoin Bradley could be forced to miss a match tomorrow as he is among the thousands of holidaymakers who are stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

The footballer was due to fly home yesterday following a week-long break with his girlfriend and children.

But after all British flights were cancelled to and from the Egyptian resort, he has been forced to stay.

Airlines will begin repatriating stranded holidaymakers today after an agreement was reached with the Egyptian authorities on a package of new security measures.

More than 20 flights are set to be operated from Sharm to the UK today amid tightened security, including a ban on airlines carrying hold luggage.

But it looks like coming too late for 31-year-old Mr Bradley, who also stars for Derry's GAA team.

He hopes he will be able to fly home today with his son Cathir (10), daughter Cara (5) and girlfriend Emma O'Neill.

They were coming to the end of their holiday at the four-star Sea Club Aqua Park resort when, just hours before they were due to fly home, they were informed of the flight ban.

Eoin, who was due back at training with Glenavon last night, said he has been given a glimmer of hope after easyJet contacted him about flights out of the resort today.

Tourists have been trying to make their way home since a Russian jet crashed in Egypt on Saturday killing all 224 on board. Thousands of holidaymakers have been left stranded as officials continue to assess airport security.

However, Eoin said he didn't hear about the plane crash until his dad contacted him two days later.

"We didn't hear anything more about it so we thought everything was grand," he added.

"We got ready yesterday evening and got our clothes ready to head out on Thursday morning. The next thing we heard was that all flights were cancelled.

"The news was breaking at home and then we started getting plenty of phone calls. It is what it is. There's nothing we can do about it."

If he makes it home today, the striker will play alongside his Glenavon teammates as they take on Ballinamallard at Mourneview Park in Lurgan.

Eoin said: "Apart from missing the football, I'm 100%. The only thing I worry about is missing the football, work is grand.

"An extra few days off won't do any harm. When we heard you always think the worst, but when you see the British government flying people out here you know there would have been checks done.

"I'm only five minutes away from the airport and can see the Egyptian Air Force have been flying over our hotel. It's probably safer now than it ever was."

Eoin added: "A lot of people don't know whether they are coming or going, there's a pile of people panicking about different flights. The only thing I am stressed out about is missing the football. We also face Slaughtneil on Sunday in a GAA game. It's a relegation match so I need to get back or I'll never be allowed back to Glenullin again."

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