O’Neill recalls special Challenge Cup Final memories

Brad O’Neill sat down to look back on his childhood Challenge Cup memories ahead of Saturday’s final at Wembley Stadium.

At 20-years-old O’Neill has lifted every piece of silverware on offer at Club level which started with the Betfred Challenge Cup in 2022.

The Warriors Academy graduate, who progressed through the Scholarship system before making his first team debut from the interchange bench against Wakefield Trinity in June 2021, holds special childhood memories of supporting the Club.

“I remember when I was around four-years-old watching Wigan in the South Stand with my dad,” O’Neill said. “He’d go all over the place supporting Wigan and when I’d go with him all I wanted was to one day play in the big games. My grandad supported Wigan as well so there was no chance I wouldn’t.”

The Warriors beat Leeds Rhinos 28-18 to lift the Challenge Cup in 2011 as Sam Tomkins and Joel Tomkins combined for a memorable try on O’Neill’s first Wembley visit.

“I woke up at 5am as my dad drove us down to Wembley, ” O’Neill said. “I remember sitting right behind the posts kitted out in full Wigan gear waving a flag and blasting a horn. It was such a great day out topped with the Joel Tomkins try – it’s a memory I’ll never forget.”

Sharing his memories of the excitement around the town, O’Neill said: “Wigan getting to a Challenge Cup Final becomes the talk of the town – it’s something everybody loves being a part of together. It creates a real buzz which becomes even better if you win.”

O’Neill lifted the Challenge Cup on only his second appearance in the competition after his first came in the 20-18 semi-final win over St Helens at Elland Road.

“That was my first proper big game against a Saints side who at the time were the team to beat,” O’Neill said. “Beating them was one thing itself but beating them to reach a Challenge Cup Final was extra special.”

Recalling his memories from the Challenge Cup Final win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, O’Neill said: “I remember I had an army of family members – mum, dad, nan, aunties, uncles as well as my partner and our new-born daughter – who had travelled down to support me.”

O’Neill continued: “That support is the same every week which is added motivation as I know I have to perform for them. I can’t explain how thankful I am to have that support.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final against Warrington Wolves at Wembley Stadium, O’Neill said: “It’s always a tough match against Warrington as they want to win, we want to win, and that’s what makes it a spectacle for the fans

“We’ll be looking to enjoy and make the most of the week whilst making sure we are prepared mentally and physically for the 80 minutes of action. Playing at Wembley Stadium will be such a special occasion and it’s one I’m certainly excited for.”

Tickets to support the Warriors in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final remain available to purchase from The Brick Community Stadium Ticket Office and online HERE. Get kitted out for the Betfred Challenge Cup Final with our merchandise which can be bought in-store and online HERE.

Monday 03 June 2024