Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Staleness crept into Liam Bradley's Antrim reign

By Declan Bogue

At first glance, this week felt like typical Antrim GAA, as the job of senior football manager passed within a matter of hours from Liam Bradley to Frankie Fitzsimons.

But that's entirely unfair. Those who feel that other county boards do their business in a more professional manner can raise their hands and we could immediately shoot them down.

Each county has demons when it comes to appointing managers. Even Donegal turned down Jim McGuinness twice, rather famously staring blankly at one another when asked for the overhead projector he had requested for his presentation at an interview.

Were Antrim right or wrong in seeking nominations for a manager?

Some context first. We have said before on these pages that Bradley performed the greatest coaching job of 2009 of any inter-county manager. His work in 2010 was also highly impressive.

But a staleness crept in and disagreements became an issue. He stepped away a year too late at the end of 2012. He also came back too early. At the outset, he promised the board promotion. They finished third from bottom of Division Four.

For teams at that level, league promotion is preferable than one win in the Championship, in Antrim's case against a tactically-inept Fermanagh.

Bradley was also managing a club team in Derry, while his son and selector Paddy is Kevin Cassidy's second-in-command in Gweedore, as well as still playing good football for Glenullin.

Would this have been tolerated in any other county?

You tell me.

Belfast Telegraph


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