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All-Ireland pain stays with Michael Murphy

By John Campbell

Donegal skipper Michael Murphy is just a handful of matches away from chalking up his 100th game in county colours.

It's a track record that could give rise to the assumption that the Glenswilly clubman must now feel like an essential part of the fabric of the side, an indispensable commodity in a sporting unit that has re-written the record books in recent years.

Yet such is the uncertainty of top-flight football that nothing could be further from the truth.

"You treat every game now in inter-county football as your last game. That's really how pressurised it is," maintains Murphy.

And he feels the defeat in last year's All-Ireland final to Kerry will provide Donegal with an additional spur to retain their Ulster title.

"I'm sure every team uses past defeats as an extra incentive. For us, it's a bit more motivation and you would be lying to think that the hurt of last year's final is not going to be there," he states.

"It's always going to be there. The positives from last year aren't going to cut it. You need to build on them and add in something new and different."

Four years ago at the tender age of 21, Murphy was appointed captain and has held that role since then, morphing into one of the best forwards in the process during his 93 games for Donegal to date.

Even though an All-Ireland honour, three Ulster medals and two All Star awards have come his way, Murphy is clearly hungry for more success.

"We put a lot of emphasis on the Ulster series and we look at it as a very prestigious competition. To get any win in it is a big achievement," insists Murphy.

"They are all huge games and I would say this fixture against Tyrone on Sunday is going to be no different. They are a formidable side and they are going to come in off the back of their own last league game against Kerry feeling they have something to prove.

"We continue to keep improving ourselves, but there is no point looking beyond Tyrone."

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