Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Murphy tips Donegal to rise to the big occasion

Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy believes that Donegal stand “a very good chance” of overcoming Dublin on Sunday and reaching the All-Ireland final.

And Murphy believes that Jim McGuinness’ side will enjoy the goodwill of the rest of the Ulster counties for their biggest match of the year to date.

“Donegal are going in as Ulster champions against the Leinster champions,” said Murphy.

“There has been a suggestion recently that the qualifier route is the better means by which to achieve All-Ireland success but this year all four provincial champions reached the last four.”

He stresses that Donegal’s return from the wilderness has brought a fresh dimension to the All-Ireland series as has the fact that they are led by the youngest senior county team captain in the country in 22-year-old Michael Murphy.

“Michael is an outstanding player who leads by example. He has helped to set the tone for Donegal’s progress so far,” maintains Murphy.

“Obviously Dublin will go into this game as favourites on the back of that superb quarter-final performance against Tyrone and this is not a surprise.

“But Donegal have shown themselves to be mentally strong and their manager Jim McGuinness will have his tactical plans laid to cope with what he believes to be Dublin’s strengths.”

He is urging all Ulster counties to get behind McGunness’s players on Sunday.

“They will be representing the province and deserve the encouragement of everyone. They have shown that they are a well-organised, highly motivated and ambitious side,” adds Murphy.

Meanwhile, Limerick midfielder Donal O'Grady has slammed the National Hurling League revamp as “a disaster”.

The Shannonsiders gained promotion to Division 1 after winning the Division 2 crown this year but have now been told that they will operate in Division 1B of next year's competition.