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Derry’s big review meeting delayed

By John Campbell

The Derry county board meeting at which a review of the football team’s performances in the league and championship is to be undertaken has been deferred until next week.

The meeting is also certain to debate the controversy that has arisen within the county following captain Paddy Bradley’s criticism of the preparations for matches and general welfare of the side.

With manager John Brennan under fire and a largely mixed reaction to Bradley’s views, the board has certainly been given considerable food for thought even before the meeting takes place.

At a club championship forum conducted last Friday night, Bradley’s hard-hitting remarks generated lively discussion and now county officials are anxious to defuse what is threatening to become an acrimonious situation.

A leading Derry official confirmed yesterday that the county is being portrayed “in a particularly bad light” at the moment and expressed the hope that the board meeting would be convened as soon as possible in order that the issues can be properly addressed.

And he added: “It is very disappointing that Paddy Bradley’s criticism were carried in the media rather than being delivered through the proper channels within our county structures. There is always room for players’ views to be taken on board and action taken where necessary.

“What has happened in Derry is all rather in contrast to what occurred in Donegal towards the end of last year when Jim McGuinness took exception to revelations made by Kevin Cassidy. That was dealt with in-house and obviously that had no ill-effects because Donegal have just retained their Ulster title.”

Manager John Brennan is of course well aware of Bradley’s criticisms which have triggered a reaction on social media outlets.

Bradley had indicated prior to Derry’s match against Donegal in the Ulster Championship that the side was the best-prepared he had been involved with since starting his Oak Leaf career although the heavy defeat suffered in that game occasioned severe disappointment within the county.

Yet even though morale is at a low ebb within the county, there is no confirmation that any players have opted out of playing for the county team.

Brennan had indicated after the All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Longford, the match that brought the curtain down rather prematurely on Derry’s season, that he had conducted what he felt was an intensive trawl of playing resources. He reiterated then that he felt he had the best players available to him even though the injury curse which has blighted his term as county manager was still prevalent to some extent.

Now it’s up to the county board to grasp not one but two nettles.

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Derry and Antrim renew rivalries in the Bord Gais Energy Ulster Hurling U-21 final in the Morgan Athletic Grounds tonight.

These two counties have met each other nine times in the Ulster Final with Antrim coming out on top on six of those occasions. This is Derry’s first provincial final since 2009 which incidentally was against Antrim and the last time they lifted the Ulster title was eight years ago in 2004.

This will be Antrim’s sixth Ulster final in a row and another win tonight will continue their dominance of Ulster hurling at U-21 level which has seen them win 11 titles in the past 15 years.

Belfast Telegraph

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