All-Star – Niall Brady

Niall Brady earns himself the number one spot on the 2019 Club All-Star team following a fantastic year for both himself and Collegeland. Brady stood tall between the posts for his side all season and conceded just one goal in the last three Armagh Championship games to help secure the Junior Championship title for the O’Rahilly’s club.

Brady’s memorable performances also caught the eye of Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney, with the Collegeland number one finishing off a dream year, with so many personal highlights, “It would be winning the championship (2019 personal highlight) and I recently got a call up to the county, so this reward is the cherry on top for the year, I don’t know if you could ever ask for a better year”.

“I was pretty surprised to be honest (to receive the All-Star award); it just ends the year off well. Obviously getting knocked out of Ulster was pretty disappointing, but it’s a nice way to finish off the year. I suppose it gives you motivation for next year to push on and try and win another one and try to win two in a row”.

While Collegeland eventually fell at the hands of Donegal Champions Buncrana at the quarter final stages, they did enjoy some success in the Ulster Championship, defeating Antrim’s St Patrick’s Lisburn in the first round. Many may have saw the Ulster Championship as bonus territory for the Armagh Junior Champions, but Brady insists his team mates weren’t thinking like that.

“The term bonus territory was used but we never really used it; we thought we could give it a real good go because at the end of the day we had nothing to fear. We’ve a young team so we were just out there to enjoy it because you never know if you’ll ever actually play in another Ulster match”.

Collegeland were perhaps the surprise package in the Junior Championship this year, and the underdogs tag suited them suggests Brady, “Throughout the year it was Forkhill, Clonmore, Derrynoose were loosely talked about, no one really talked about us at all. We almost used the underdogs tag to our advantage and then we’d catch teams. They’d be surprised at how quick and how fast and how flowing our football can be”.

Looking forward to next season, Brady and his team mates will be keen to make a name for themselves in the Intermediate division and the net minder believes this youthful Collegeland side are good enough to compete for silverware in 2020, “We’ve such a young team, when we worked out the average age of the starting team in the final it’s 23 years old so we’re just looking to build upon last year”.

“We fancy ourselves to give the league and championship a really good rattle, we’re coming in after winning, we’re confident, we’ve got a good group of lads, so we’ll be aiming for the championship if possible. If not, then a real good run in the championship and it’s just a building process really”.