Anyone who thought that Liam Bradley might have opted to take things easy following Antrim’s stunning championship journey over the course of the summer has certainly been forced to think again.
The Saffrons boss is entering one of his busiest weekends of the year that will encompass important championship matches in two counties.
On Sunday afternoon, Liam will be Dermot McNicholl’s more than able lieutenant when he helps to patrol the touchline as his home club Glenullin bid to hurdle Dungiven in the semi-final of the Derry football championship at Celtic Park (5.00pm).
Win, lose or draw, Liam will then make the dash to Casement Park to see the cream of Antrim talent in action when reigning champions St Galls take on Erin’s Own, Cargin in the second of the championship semi-finals there (8.00pm).
“There is the real prospect of some top-class club championship action across the province over tomorrow and Sunday and I’m certainly looking forward very much to the matches in which I will have a particular interest,” says the man who has revitalised Antrim’s fortunes.
His aperitif to a hectic 36 hour spell will be served when Portglenone and St Brigid’s meet in the first of the Antrim semi-finals tomorrow at Creggan (6.00pm) but it’s Glenullin’s bid to further pursue their ambition of landing what would be a second Derry title in just three years that really has Liam’s competitive juices flowing.
He himself masterminded Glenullin’s 2007 championship coup and while he will help to call the tactical shots on Sunday, his sons Paddy and Eoin will spearhead the team’s attack against a Dungiven outfit that in the Hinphey brothers Kevin and Liam, Paul Murphy and Emmet McKeever boast players well capable of making life difficult for their opponents.
When he gets to Casement Park, Liam will assess a St Galls side that includes Terry O’Neill, Colin Brady, Andrew McClean, Aodhan Gallagher, Sean Burke, Ciaran Close and Kevin Niblock all of whom did their bit for Antrim this year as well as the talented McGourty connection — Kevin, Ciaran and CJ.
Erin’s Own are not without their quota of seasoned performers. Michael and Tomas McCann, Justin Crozier, Kevin O’Boyle, Tony Scullion and Ciaran O’Neill will all lead from the front as the Toome side attempt to arrest the St Galls dominance of the county sphere.
In the process, doubtless Liam Bradley will be provided with additional food for thought as he begins to focus on his blueprint for 2010.