Donegal All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy has just been served with a reminder that sport can provide a bitter-sweet menu.
Murphy is currently engaged in teaching practice in Glendalough in Wicklow but still found time to make the long journey to Ballygawley where he was honoured as the latest winner of the Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly merit award.
It was his towering personal contribution in the All-Ireland final win over Mayo and his particularly dignified post-match acceptance speech as he took delivery of ‘Sam’ that earned Murphy the writers’ accolade.
A spectacular first minute goal from their 23-year-old skipper helped chart Donegal’s victory path in the All Ireland final and, apart from this thunderous strike, Murphy played a real captain’s role. When the occasion called for it, he roved out towards midfield and throughout the game he led by example.
“I can’t believe that I have really won this award,” smiled Michael. “Obviously, like everyone else, I enjoy getting awards and this, on top of getting the All-Ireland senior medal, really polishes off the victory.”
Ulster GAA Writers Association chairman John Graham presented Murphy with an engraved Belleek Living vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon, training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports and a sports voucher from the UGAAWA.
He will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA Silver Jubilee Banquet in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran. But Murphy’s satisfaction was tinged with disappointment when his club Glenswilly lost to Dungloe in the Donegal championship quarter-finals.
He said: “It was disappointing to lose out as we had hoped to build on our title success of last year. But you would have to hand it to Dungloe, they proved the stronger side and took their chances well. There's nothing left for us now.”
He looks certain, though, to lead Donegal against Ulster in the 'Match for Michaela' at Casement Park, on November 3.
“This is a special match in every sense in aid of a very worthy cause and the Donegal team is delighted to have been invited to play a part in it,” Murphy added.