Stephen Bradley peaking about the team in the build up to the Cup QF v Bluebell United on Friday.
On the 3-1 win over Cork last week:
“It was probably our most complete performance of the season because we had to defend well at times, we attacked well at times and we were ruthless in the final third which was pleasing to see. The third goal obviously killed the game off.
Trevor Clarke was excellent all night, he was unplayable at times. I think he went by three or four of their players for his run, they were standing still and we know they’re very good players. And when it fell to Brandon Miele he showed really good feet to beat two or three and then his finish was top class.
It’s been hard trying to keep Aaron Bolger back because he’s been so good in training. He’s a very good player and when you’re that good and your attitude is that good you earn the respect of your teammates very quickly. We knew playing him against Cork, although it was a big ask, that he was ready for it. He’s that sort of player, the bigger the challenge, Aaron becomes a better player. He stands up to it and nothing fazes him. He was outstanding on the night.
I’ve said before that when we sat down as a group our targets were to beat the top teams and to win anything, any competition, you have to beat top teams somewhere along the way. We haven’t done that as a club for quite a while so it was the aim for this year to get over that and I think we’ve broken down that barrier and we can move forward now. It was a big obstacle in our way, mentally.”
“Ronan Finn and Keith Fahey (of Bluebell) are two top players and it’s unfortunate that both of them are suspended because you want to see the top players playing in good games. But that’s the way it goes. Graham Burke’s injury is a blow to any team. We all know his quality and what he has brought to us this year but I think we showed on Friday that we’re capable of winning games against top teams without Graham. You’d love to have him in contention to play every week but that’s not the case. Any team that loses a player, you’ve got to plan and move on without them, there’s no point in getting upset or thinking about what could have been or should have been.
That position is up for grabs now and it’s up to the players to go and take it. Whichever player takes it, we’ll fix the formation to suit that player. Trevor Clarke and Gary Shaw both got really bad knocks against Cork. Trevor will be OK but we’re still waiting on Gary so we’ll have to wait and see on that one. Luke Byrne is still probably a week away. Sean Boyd is out with his stomach and he will be long term because we’ve got him treatment that requires he takes a long rehab.”
“I’ve watched Bluebell a lot, I know Andy and a lot of their players and I know they’re doing some really good stuff down there as a club. They’re the top team in their division I believe from watching it the last few years. They’ve got some really good players and I know it’s going to be a tough game. If we were to think anything otherwise we’d be very foolish because they’re a good side, Andy has them set up well and they play some good football. We’ve got to respect what they’re going to bring, their energy and passion.
I believe they could compete with a lot of teams in the First Division and our division as well. We just have to show up with the right attitude on Friday and set up right.It’s two games away from the final. We’re neck and neck with Derry for third place and there’s a lot of big games to come between now and the end of the season. We want to overcome that hurdle of winning something as early as possible and cup competitions give us a massive opportunity to do that this year. The players know that and will be focused. We’ve gone six games on a winning streak and we’ve been playing well. We were always going to get stronger as the season went on.”