Former Antrim manager Liam Bradley claims guiding Glenullin through the County Championship is his sole focus at the moment but refused to rule himself out of the running for the Derry job.
Michael Wilson reports
Bradley yesterday confirmed he was stepping down after four years in charge at Casement Park, a move which led many to install him as firm favourite for the Oak Leaf post but the Glenullin boss said he was unaware if he had even been nominated at this point.
“At this stage I don’t even know if I have been nominated,” explained Bradley, “I have had four good hard years up in Belfast. I stopped up there about a month ago and went straight into helping Glenullin and that’s where my focus is at the minute. All of my energy is going toward helping Glenullin have a real go at the Championship.
“We are hell bent on trying to win it this year because we believe we have let a couple slip through our fingers and the team is not getting any younger. We think we are in with a decent shout but we also realise we are probably one of five or six teams who would think that and we have a tough game against Slaughtneil this weekend.”
Bradley took Antrim to an Ulster final and successive promotions during his tenure but admitted he has always kept a close eye on how his native county are doing.
“It is just a case of wait and see regarding Derry. That is not where my focus is at the minute but it is an honour to be even linked with the job. I am and always have been a Derry supporter. It’s in my blood but you can’t let your heart rule your head.
“Whoever takes over has a massive job. Derry has a great tradition and is one of the best Gaelic football countys in Ireland but there is no doubt it has slipped below what it should be over the past few years. It would be a tough job to reignite the team but there is no shortage of talent in the county.
“I have been nominated on three occasions and even if I have been nominated this time, I would have to sit down with my family and decide if it was something I want to go forward with. It would be a big job with some big calls to make.”
The Glenullin manager said he believed that whoever was to take the post would have plenty of talent to work with.
“Whoever gets the job I think Division two is there for the talking for Derry next year if the players knuckle down and set themselves some targets. You only have to look over the border at Donegal to see what can be achieve in a relatively short period of time and I have no doubt the talent in Derry is equal to that in Donegal. “
Looking back at his time in charge of the Saffrons, Bradley said an absence of silverware was his only regret.
“My only disappointment with Antrim was we didn’t win silverware. We were punching above our weight getting to an Ulster Final and met a very good Tyrone team but we lost a couple of National League finals and that was disappointing,” he added.