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Michael Murphy has a number of tricks in store for Dublin

By John Campbell

Donegal captain Michael Murphy has found a rather novel way of preparing for Sunday's All-Ireland football semi-final against Dublin. The Glenswilly man has immersed himself in work since opening his new sports shop in Letterkenny last week in tandem with his county colleague Neil Gallagher.

Thousands of people have flocked through the doors since then and while focused on picking up bargains, they also had one even more important aim – to engage the county skipper in conversation on the subject of the team's confrontation with the Dubs.

"I've had countless photographs taken with customers but I'm not complaining. I can't believe the reaction that the shop opening has sparked. But then I suppose you could say that football fever is rampant in Donegal just now," smiles Murphy.

But while business has been unexpectedly brisk, Murphy has not been deflected from what he views as his primary aim.

"I want to see Donegal put their best foot forward and to this end we have been preparing hard this week in terms of our tactics and motivation," explains Murphy.

If he is beginning to gain a degree of stature in the retail world, then Murphy's personal sporting stock has soared over the course of the championship season to date.

Donegal's most consistent player by a country mile, he has led by inspirational example, never more so than when his team found themselves swimming against the tide in the closing stages against Armagh in the quarter-finals.

And it's just what role he will be asked to fulfil on Sunday that is perhaps the subject of most speculation right now.

Having dovetailed between deep-lying playmaker and predator supreme on the occasions that he has been despatched further into enemy territory, Murphy has exhibited his silken, rounded skills to such an extent that an Allstar award must be in the offing.

Be that as it may, the genial skipper, the essence of diplomacy and tact in dealing with the media, is adamant that Donegal will not let what he sees as "a golden opportunity" pass them by on Sunday.

"I think we have learned from the Armagh game and it's up to us as players to put our heads down on Sunday and make sure we get things right," states Murphy.

"We identified shortcomings against Armagh and we have worked on them and hopefully things will come right for us.

"I don't mind what role I am asked to play as long as the team comes out on top, that's all that matters as far as I am concerned. This is a golden opportunity for us."

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