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Eoin Bradley commits to Oak Leafs panel

By Declan Bogue

Derry's hopes for 2015 have been given a massive boost with the return of Eoin Bradley to the Oak Leafs panel.

Bradley, renowned as one of the top attacking talents in the game, is prepared to juggle his commitments, playing Irish League soccer for Glenavon and an inter-county career with Derry.

It is believed that he has been in occasional contact with manager Brian McIver since he signed Irish League forms for Coleraine last year and made an instant impression on the league.

His performances have drawn much admiration, with Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton recently stating that Bradley could have pursued a cross-channel soccer career if he took the sport up earlier in his career.

He scored a goal in Glenavon's 3-2 defeat to Portadown in the mid-Ulster derby last weekend.

With Derry training up to five times a week and their training ban now lifted, Bradley is able to commit to the gruelling regime of county football.

This commitment may involve some level of compromise on Hamilton's behalf and Bradley may have to scale back whatever training he is doing in soccer.

Last year, McIver and Bradley were unable to reach agreement over his sporting commitments. The 31-year-old then flourished in his new sport and commented at the time: "At this stage of my career there are not many years left. I had to make the decision for myself.

"You get a few pounds and while it's not all about the money, it's nice to get paid for what you're doing. I explained the situation to Brian, he understands and said the door is always open."

Bradley's performances with Glenullin in the Derry Championship were said to have been among his finest-ever, which seems to have prompted a softening of their respective stances.

On Saturday night, he followed his game with Glenavon by appearing as a substitute in the 'Game for Anto' between an Ulster select team and Jim Gavin's Dublin.

In a neat twist to the story, Bradley could be back in a Derry shirt in less than a month in the O'Fiaich Cup, as he was not a part of last year's Championship squad.

Belfast Telegraph


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