By his own admission Ryan Bradley was two stone overweight and having been out of the Donegal panel for two years by the time Jim McGuinness came along in the autumn of 2010, the Buncrana man thought his days in the green and gold of Donegal had been and gone.
Speaking to the Inishowen Independent this week from his home in Qatar, Bradley revealed that a meeting with McGuinness in his home in Glenties changed everything. “Jim rang me up one day and asked me to come and meet him at his house in Glenties. He gave me a nine week gym programme and a nine week running programme and left the ball totally in my court.” Bradley insists that the words McGuinness said to him that day in his office at the back of his home will stay with him forever. “If you come back to me in nine weeks time with the weight off then I will know you are interested, if not we will shake hands and forget about it. We are going to win an Ulster title this year Ryan and an All Ireland title in the next couple of years, it’s totally up to you if you want to be a part of it,” said McGuinness.
Needless to say, Bradley put the head down and the rest as they say is history, although it could have been so so different for Ryan Bradley.
When the Buncrana man heard the news of McGuinness’ departure last Friday night he admits he was shocked but not overly surprised. “I was and I wasn’t to be honest. Even though I had a feeling it was coming it’s still hard to believe that he has really stepped aside. I just think that work and family commitments finally caught up with Jim, he was doing too much and something had to give,” said Bradley.
The former wing forward who played a huge role in the All Ireland success of 2012 believes that McGuinness is destined to work at the very top of professional sport. “I think he is simply too gifted not to be working at the highest level. From what I have seen of him and the way he works with players psychologically I think he is just destined to succeed in whatever he chooses to do,” he said.
To read more of this interview with Ryan Bradley click here.