For the first time in the 21+ years of the Ulster GAA Writers’ Association, Antrim receives back-to-back Monthly Merit Awards with the Saffrons’ senior football manger Liam Bradley being the winner for March 2009, following Neil McManus being the February winner.

Derry man Bradley receives the honour for steering Antrim to the brink of promotion from Div.4 of the NFL. Only a rather bizarre set of results in the final round could now prevent Antrim from taking the step up. Wins over Leitrim, London and Sligo last month has left Bradley’s boys almost there.

“We are very happy where we are at just now and we look forward to our last game away to Waterford,” says Liam. “However, this Merit Award really comes as a big surprise to me. It is not something that I would expect to win.”

Bradley may be new to county management but he has packed in a lot of managerial experience since a cruciate ligament injury ended his own playing days following appearances with Derry at minor under-21 and senior levels. He steered his home club Glenullin to county SFC success and also had spells at the helm with Claudy and University of Ulster Coleraine.

Liam and Paddy Bradley, being father and son winners of our monthly award, follow in the footsteps of Joe, Stephen and Paul Kernan, Adrian senior and junior McGuckin, Terence and Shane McNaughton.

For the March award, Liam Bradley had to overcome the challenge of St Malachy’s HS (Castlewellan) manager PJ McGee who led the school to Markey Cup success and to the All-Ireland U18 Vocational Schools’ Football final  

Other notable achievements during the month – Paul Brady and Fiona Shannon retaining their respective men’s and women’s All-Ireland Handball Senior Championship titles and national success also for St Paul’s (Kilrea) and the ladies football team from Loreto College, Omagh. Seanie Johnston (Cavan) and Davy Harte (Tyrone) were also up for consideration.

Liam Bradley was presented with his award of a UGAAWA voucher, a Belleek China engraved vase, specially designed silver cuff links by Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon and sports gear from O’Neill’s International Sports at a function in Casement Park on Wednesday, April 8.

He will also receive two tickets plus overnight accommodation for our 22nd annual banquet to be held at Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, on Friday, November 20.

A family affair, with Liam Bradley, manager of Antrim, receiving the UGAA Writers’ Monthly Merit Award. Liam is pictured with his sons Paddy and Eoin and grandson Cathoir.