Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


'Players won the title for my son, Josh Bradley' - Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley explains how the Shamrock Rovers players used his son Josh's illness as motivation to win the league.

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley spoke to Nathan Murphy after his side won the League of Ireland.

Shamrock Rovers have 73 points from 34 games played.

They won 22 of those 34 games and drew seven more. But when they won the league on Monday night they weren't playing at all. In fact, manager Stephen Bradley was watching Shelbourne play UCD to a 1-1 draw at home. Gary O'Neill and some of his fellow players were at home eating Nandos.

Rovers won the league because Derry City failed to beat Sligo Rovers away from home.

Derry are now on 66 points after 34 games, making it mathematically impossible for them to win the league. Rovers are now winners for the third year in a row. The most recent title is always the sweetest, but for this group of players and manager Stephen Bradley it's sweeter for a much greater reason.

Earlier this year, Stephen Bradley's son Josh Bradley was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The eight-year-old has served as inspiration for the players and for Bradley himself as he continued to manage the team.

"It's been a brilliant release for me," Bradley said.

"To come in every day and work with these players, and the staff, and take my mind off what has been the toughest year of our lives. I asked the players when it happened to do everything possible to allow Josh to lift that trophy for us. And get the medal.

"They've more than held up their end of the bargain. They've been incredible in how they've gone and done that.

"For themselves. For the club and the staff. But for Josh too.

"I'll be forever in their debt."

Since Rovers won the title without playing a game on the day, their next match against Derry City on Sunday will serve as the celebration. The players and the manager are excited and will enjoy the night, but it's Josh Bradley who will draw all the focus if he's able to go.

"Hopefully he's well enough to come to the game and celebrate with the players because they've done it for him. He'll be the happiest little boy in Ireland on Sunday."

Eddie Howe has no shame.


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Jack Byrne Josh Bradley League Of Ireland Shamrock Rovers Stephen Bradley