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Edward Liddle's International Profiles
Shaun Joseph Bradley
  • Born 7 October 1949
  • Died 3 May 2005 Derry
  • Educated Christian Brothers College, Derry; St Joseph's Teacher Training College, Belfast
  • Occupation Schoolteacher
  • Debut 19 June 1982 V MCC at Eglinton
  • Cap Number 544
  • Style Left hand batsman, wicket keeper
  • Teams Eglinton

Shaun Bradley, a useful batsman at club level and an excellent wicket keeper at any level, must be accounted one of the unluckiest of Ireland's "one cap wonders." For over two decades he kept superbly for Eglinton but his appearances in representative cricket were far fewer than they should have been. Joe Doherty described him as "From a young age, a jewel in the crown of his beloved Eglinton", whose only "fault" was that he was not a malicious or mischievous chirper behind the stumps. He was thus, in historical terms a Bert Oldfield rather than a modern. He had the ill fortune to become prominent in the game in the North West when the incomparable Ossie Colhoun was in his prime. For 20 years only one other keeper Merrion's Joe Hopkins got a look in to the wicket keeping spot in the Irish side and that was not through any loss of form by Ossie.

Further Ossie also blocked Shaun's path in the North West side in interprovincial matches, though he did have rather more of a chance here to show his skill. It is surely the height of irony that Shaun, when he finally got his chance in the national side after Ossie had retired, equalled an Irish wicket keeping record and was promptly dropped for the next match! As already mentioned his glovework for Eglinton was immaculate for many years. He had a tough apprenticeship, keeping to Scott Huey which was no easy task. It is a tribute to his skills that st Bradley b Huey was a regular feature of Eglinton scorecards. His excellence behind the stumps can be seen from an Irish Senior Cup Match in 2003, when he was at an age which would have sent many cricketers to the safety of their club's 4th XI or the pavilion seats. Playing against CYM at Terenure, he made 2 stumpings and held 3 catches as the hosts were dismissed for 203. Unfortunately Eglinton were unable to keep up with the run rate and lost by 45 runs.

He played 22 times for the North West in Guinness Cup and subsequent interprovincial tournaments. His debut against North Leinster at Beechgrove saw him do well, allowing only 2 byes he made a stumping apiece off Huey and Ray Moan to put the visitors in trouble. However they were rescued, with the bat, by Alec O'Riordan and Dougie Goodwin who put on 75 for the 9th wicket. Facing a total of 203, NW collapsed for 108, Shaun "failing to trouble the scorers" being stumped by Gerry Murphy off Alec's elder brother off spinner Kevin. A number of other good wicket keeping performances followed, though he was not selected for North West at all between 1975 and 1980.

Strangely perhaps his best performance for North West came with the bat as late as 1991 against the NCU at Deramore. Opening the batting with the prolific Marshall Kilgore, he made a remarkable 91. The next highest score came from tailender Nigel Thompson whose 37 helped the score to a useful - but no more - 217. Nigel was on form with the ball also taking 6/71. Shaun weighed in with 2 catches and the visitors departed victorious by 22 runs.

Shaun's sole match for Ireland came against MCC at Eglinton in June 1982. Though he probably owed his selection to being the local man, his cap was well deserved. He had been reserve to Colhoun on no fewer than eleven occasions. The match was an excellent one with the result in doubt until the last ball, which saw MCC survive with 9 wickets down. In their first innings Shaun made three stumpings off Dermot Monteith to send back future Australian Test player Mike Veletta, Mel Hussain, elder brother of Nasser and Nick Stewart a prominent Minor Counties all-rounder. He thus equalled the Irish record for stumpings in an innings, held by four other keepers, one of whom, Reggie Lyons of YMCA also performed it on his sole appearance.

Shaun Bradley did not play for Ireland again and his tragically early death in 2005 robbed his family, teaching colleagues, fellow players and friends, of a kindly, highly respected and much loved man. To finish we can do no better than quote again from Joe Doherty's words spoken at Shaun's funeral, "A tidy and skilful cricketer who always played the game the way it was (and is) meant to be played"