Magic Michael Murphy stars for Glenswilly after international exploits
Guides club to Donegal title with emphatic win over Killybegs
Killybegs’ Christopher Murrin and Michael Murphy of Glenswilly in action during the Donegal SFC final. Photograph: Kieran Murray/Inpho
Glenswilly 3-19 Killybegs 2-6: There was no dilemma. Less than 24 hours after captaining his country in the International Rules series on Saturday night, Michael Murphy collected the second county championship medal of his career in Ballybofey yesterday. He chipped in with 1-5 and, while none of those scores came from open play, his inventiveness and power were the story of the game.
An audacious flick of the heel which set up Ciarán Bonner for an-icing-on-the-cake goal late on a drenched afternoon was worth the admission price but all day, Murphy’s ability to dominate these games was the shining factor. He basically obliterated the best backs the Killybegs men could muster.
“It is fantastic,” he said yesterday on the field as friends and family thumped him on the back. A big welt streaked down his face, one he didn’t have leaving the field in Cavan on Saturday night but he wasn’t too concerned about it.
“The big thing was making the decision. It was a horrible kind of decision to have to make but credit to both the Ireland and the club manager. It wasn’t as easy thing for the club; they might have thought I was turning my back on the them slightly. But it was never the case. It was about just getting the head down. Two games in two games: it is football, is it what you love. To play for Ireland and your club in a county final in two days – you would take it every day. People doubted us within the county but we proved ourselves today.”
Shifting power base
Yesterday’s Donegal final was another illustration of the shifting power base within the northwest football demographic. Killybegs once dominated the land as much as the sea around Donegal and their march around the field before yesterday’s parade evoked memories of their brilliant side which netted five titles from 1988 to 1996, the last year when they brought the Maguire Cup home. Glenswilly, in their third final appearance, have won it for the second time and such was their dominance in the second half that more titles are likely to follow.
Along with marquee county men Murphy and Neil Gallagher, they had Ciarán Bonner, the prodigal son of Donegal football at midfield. Bonner was among the most conspicuously talented of the county set-up in the uncertain years before Jim McGuinness took over but was absent for the revolution. This year, he is back in the county squad looking mobile as ever.
But the key to Glenswilly’s game is their general comfort on the ball and understanding. Gallagher, constrained all summer with by injury, was in ferocious form here: dominant under the high ball, moving from square to square freely and always, always looking to sent Murphy skywards with those accurate diagonal balls of his. And all through the field, Glenswilly have smooth ball players, from Colin Kelly who won the penalty which led to Murphy’s first goal with the busy Caolan Kelly and Keelan McFadden prominent all afternoon and the team’s other free taker, Gary McFadden, who had a storming second half.