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'It made me really emotional...it's something that will live with me forever'

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley thanked supporters for their gesture in support of him and his family, as Bradley’s young son battles illness.

Stephen Bradley celebrates at full-time.
Stephen Bradley celebrates at full-time.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS MANAGER Stephen Bradley thanked everyone who has offered support to him and his family as his eight-year-old son battles illness. 

Bradley missed Rovers’ 1-0 loss to Dundalk last Friday week, and revealed on Thursday that he may miss future games as his son is ill. He was on the touchline for last night’s 1-0 victory over Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium, however, an emotional occasion in which the stadium rose in applause in the eighth minute as a gesture of support. 

Bradley was serenaded at full-time by the Rovers supporters, with chants of, ‘There’s only one Stephen Bradley’ ringing around the stadium. 

“It made me really emotional”, said Bradley of the eighth-minute ovation. “I can’t thank them enough, each and every person here that did that for me and for my family. My little boy is in the hospital watching that match, he will know that’s for him and that’s a special moment and something that will live with him and with me forever. Massive, massive thank you to everyone.” 

Bradley said he has received messages of support from across the league, including from Bohs’ manager Keith Long and coach Trevor Croly. 

“Keith texted me yesterday, and so did Trevor, and so did 99% of the league. Rivalries don’t matter when it’s something so personal like that. The support we have had as a family is fantastic, from everyone around the league and everyone connected to football around the country. I can’t thank them enough. There’s nothing better than telling the little fella that X Y or Z has sent you a message or a video, and to see a little smile on his face. Massive, massive thank you.

“He has a telly in his room, and he said if we didn’t win I couldn’t go back and sleep in the hospital, so I know where I’m sleeping tonight! I am delighted for him.”

“Football in our world is the most important of the unimportant things”, said Bohs boss Keith Long. “Really, it puts it into perspective when Stephen is experiencing the difficulties and challenges that he is right at  this moment and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and his young son. It is only right, correct and proper that we stand [with him]. We are rivals on the pitch, we’ve had our moments, myself and Stephen, but the human aspect – we’re all parents here, well, some of us are – is that nobody wants to see an illness like that to a young child. It doesn’t seem right. Our thoughts and prayers, from everybody within our club, are with Stephen and his family at this time. That’s for sure. Life is bigger than football.”

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The game itself was settled by Rory Gaffney’s goal early in the second half, which extends Rovers’ lead at the top of the Premier Division to seven points. 

“First half I thought we were sloppy, we were off it and allowed them to get a foothold in the game with the decisions we were making in and out of possession”, reflected Bradley on the game. “They were slightly better first half I thought, even though we had the best chance of the first half with Aaron [Greene]. We had a little chat at half time and tweaked one or two things and in the second half we were very good. We controlled the game, we scored, obviously, and could have added a couple more.” 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from Tallaght Stadium

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