Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Bradley nabs keeper from Armagh to boost Antrim options

Antrim football boss Liam Bradley has moved to strengthen his goalkeeping resources — by plundering what he describes as “an exciting prospect” from Armagh.

Willie McSorley, who began his career with the Harps club in the primatial city, has now joined the Saffrons and is expected to be initially used as cover for the last line of defence.

“Willie has been in Dublin for a spell but we are very happy to have him. He could offer us options,” says Bradley.

McSorley is a cousin of Armagh midfielder Charlie Vernon and formerly played at Minor level for his native county.

An agile custodian, he comes into the Antrim squad as Bradley targets a spurt though the All-Ireland football qualifiers.

And the Saffrons manager has not yet given up hope that Sean O’Neill could see action against Carlow at Casement Park on Saturday.

O’Neill has indicated that he wants to focus on his new role with Crusaders but Bradley is hoping to persuade the former Dungannon Swifts player to commit himself to this weekend’s contest.

“I understand Sean’s position. I understand he is in line to play for

Crusaders against Fulham in the Europa League and you would have to say that this is an attractive match for him.

“Still, he has been doing well with us and we would love him to remain on board even in the short term if this is at all possible,” maintains Bradley.

O’Neill has certainly made an impact between the posts for Antrim and has built up a good understanding with his defenders.

“Goalkeeping is now a very specialised position in gaelic football with elements such as kick-outs hugely important.

“We have seen some every good goalkeeping performances in this year’s championship season to date,” points out Bradley.

Michael McCann is unlikely to play any part against Carlow because of injury which means Bradley will be stripped of the services of one of his most experienced players. “Obviously it would be nice to have the likes of Michael in there but we won’t be taking unnecessary risks with him.

“Carlow have two big strong midfield players in Tommy Walsh and Brendan Murphy and they will certainly make it very hard for us in that area,” stresses Bradley.

Antrim have already beaten Westmeath in the Qualifiers and Bradley is particularly anxious that his side should be in Sunday night’s draw for the third round.

“By then there will be a number of real quality sides left and it’s important that we get the chance to test ourselves against one of these,” he explains.

“While we were very disappointed with the manner of our defeat to Donegal in the Ulster Championship it’s vital that we now make progress through the Qualifiers,” insists a determined Bradley.

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