Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Michael Murphy set to be next Donegal legend

Michael Murphy has had a meteoroic rise

He may be still only 24 but already Michael Murphy is being hailed as Donegal's best-ever player.

A meteoric rise to fame has seen the honours flow thick and fast for someone to whom leadership and inspiration come naturally.

And when he runs out with Glenswilly to face St Galls in the Ulster club football championship on Sunday, Murphy will be embarking on yet another journey that could lead to a further accolade.

In just over a year he has captained Donegal to their second All Ireland title, played a major role in Glenswilly's second county title in three years and led Ireland to success in the International Rules. It's a CV that would do justice to a player of much more mature vintage and while the plaudits continue to swirl round the quiet-spoken DCU student, the prospect of even better to come has officials, fans and playing colleagues salivating.

Pauric McShea shared in Donegal's 1972 Ulster title triumph and was captain of the side when this feat was repeated two years later.

Since then he has rarely if ever missed a game in which Donegal were involved and has an in-depth knowledge of GAA that extends far beyond his country boundary.

"Michael Muphy is a supreme talent," purrs McShea, "He is not only a superb finisher but a wonderful creator. His captaincy is something else too and the way in which he led Donegal last year in particular and Ireland to International Rules success speaks volumes not just for his playing ability but for his character and integrity."

And he predicts that Murphy can aspire to legendary status.

"Only once in a while does a player who is richly imbued with every skill in the sport come along so they must be treasured," adds McShea.

But far from wrapping Murphy in cotton wool, St Galls will seek to imprison him to such an extent that he will be rendered more of an extra than a lead role.

It was less than 24 hours after leading Ireland to victory in the first Rules Test that Murphy lined out with Glenswilly and deservedly earned his man of the match status by scoring 1-5.

In landing 3-19 overall against the 2-6 recorded by Killlybegs, Glenswilly set the tone for what was the highest-ever overall score recorded in a Donegal final with the match also producing the biggest winning margin.

He may have lived life in the fast lane recently but he will be forced to engage an even higher gear if he is to pilot Glenswilly further along the Ulster club route.

His current form, though, indicates that is well within his compass.

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