carl McHugh’s great journey with Bradford City to the Capital One League Cup final did not have the fairytale ending with Swansea City winning 5-0 at Wembley.
The Welsh side were very worthy winners but in defeat the Bradford City side and their supporters lost nothing as they cheered on their heroes to the very end.
The huge Donegal contingent from the Leitirmacaward area and further afield were in the ground early and a long-time Bradford supporter, Thomas Boyle, was pictured on Sky TV, looking very anxious after the Yorkshire side gave away an early goal.
It was always going to be an uphill task for the side from League Two, the equivalent of the old Fourth Division, up against one of the brighest young sides in the Premiership under the guidance now of Michael Laudrup. I wonder what Brendan Rodgers was thinking yesterday, having left the Swans for Liverpool last year!
Bradford, as they have done so far in their great cup run, set about packing their defence and hoping to hit Swansea on the break, but in the wide open spaces of Wembley Stadium, it was a really onerous task, especially against a side that looked so comfortable on the ball.
The real killer for Bradford came on 40 minutes as they were hoping to get to the safety of the dressing room just a goal down. But their new Spanish centre forward, Michu, did what he has been doing all season, finding the corner of the Bradford net.
Worse was to follow as Dyer added his second and Swansea’s third minutes into the second half. It was a matter of holding on after that, and Bradford, despite being reduced to 10 when they lost Matt Duke in the incident which saw Swansea go 4-0 up, kept battling away and they didn’t deserve to be hit for a fifth in added time.
Overall, it was a wonderful journey for Bradford and especially for the Donegal followers, who have followed Carl McHugh in his exploits with wins over Watford, Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa. They left Derry Airport on Saturday morning and really enjoyed their trip.
They will return a little disappointed, but for a little part of Donegal, this was one of the most wonderful journeys ever.
Carl and Bradford have to pick up the pieces for a league game on Wednesday night and they still have the chance of getting involved in the promotion race. Hopefully, we will have other things to celebrate with Bradford and Carl McHugh before the year is out.