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Joe Kernan: Murphy’s ‘crime’ doesn’t deserve too harsh a punishment

Michael Murphy has spent only a relatively short time in the colours of Donegal yet he has already achieved quite a lot with the county.

Named as Young Footballer of the Year two years ago, Murphy has skippered Donegal to the National League Division Two title this term and has played his part in bringing the side into the semi-finals of the Ulster Championship in which they will meet Tyrone on Sunday week.

Now though there is a grave danger that he will miss this match because of the straight red card he incurred against Cavan last Sunday — an offence that carries an automatic four-week ban.

Yet the offence for which referee Martin Duffy issued the ultimate sanction looked relatively innocuous — more a push than anything else, I would have thought.

While Donegal will be making strenuous efforts to have the red card overturned, there is always the fear that the Competitions Control Committee will support the referee’s stance meaning that Murphy will have to serve his sentence.

Yet there are very few people, including many in Cavan I am sure, who would wish to see Murphy denied the opportunity to lead his team out against the reigning provincial champions.

While I am certainly not suggesting that Murphy be accorded special treatment simply because he is the Donegal captain, I am anxious to see all the circumstances relative to his offence taken into account.

And, let it be added, I would wish to see the same treatment afforded to every other player who finds himself in similar circumstances.

Belfast Telegraph

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