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St Galls' turn to try and stop Donegal's Michael Murphy

By John Campbell

St Galls manager Carl McCabe is among thousands of GAA followers who have marvelled at the exploits of Michael Murphy over the past year.

In that period, the 23-year-old prodigiously talented full-forward has led Donegal to their second All Ireland crown, masterminded a second county championship title for Glenswilly and skippered Ireland to International Rules success.

But on Sunday McCabe will be keeping his fingers crossed that his plan to nullify Murphy's influence when St Galls meet Glenswilly in the Ulster club quarter-finals comes to fruition.

McCabe has watched Murphy morph into one of the most complete players in the country and recognises that he represents a major threat to his own team's chances of making the provincial semi-finals.

"You have to admire what Michael Murphy has achieved," muses McCabe. "He has certainly shown great commitment, too, by leading Ireland to victory in the first Test in the Rules and then turning out for Glenswilly the following day in the county final."

In that match, Murphy scored 1-5 as Glenswilly careered to a handsome 3-19 to 2-6 over a Killybegs side whose resolve and spirit deserted them when they were most needed.

Now McCabe must plan to limit Murphy's input on Sunday in the knowledge that he is not the only threat to his team's chances of marching onwards.

Gary McFadden, Neil Gallagher, Ciaran Bonner and Keelan McFadden are other players who can impose themselves within a Glenswilly outfit that has improved steadily this year.

The fact that St Galls had only one point to spare (0-12 to 0-11) over great rivals Erin's Own Cargin in the Antrim final provides McCabe with sober reflections in advance of Sunday's contest.

He said: "Our experience probably stood to us at the end but we know that we have to show an improvement. The line-up for this Ulster club championship is as good as it gets."

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