This is hopefully just the start, says star man Michael Murphy
Michael Murphy has packed a lot of memories into his comparatively short spell as a top-flight inter-county player.
But long after some of his achievements have slipped into the dark recesses of his mind, time will never dull his recall of the events of yesterday at a throbbing Croke Park.
In becoming just the second captain to lead Donegal to All-Ireland glory, Murphy inscribed his name in the annals of GAA history.
In doing so, he not only emerged as man of the match but at 23, became one of the youngest captains to take delivery of football’s greatest prize.
It may take a little time to sink in but as he headed for Donegal’s celebration banquet in Dublin last night, Murphy paid an emotional tribute to his players.
“People would not believe the sacrifices these boys have made to put Donegal football where it is today. I am so proud of them. They have shown great commitment, made the sacrifices that are necessary and have now got their just reward,” declared Murphy.
And in lauding the efforts of manager Jim McGuinness, he suggested that this All-Ireland success could provide rich benefits for Donegal football.
“Hopefully this will trigger more success. We have had our bad days but we hope they are behind us now and that the last two years has seen Donegal become a football power.
“Now that we have reached the top we want to stay there but that will take even more work because other teams will feel we are there to be knocked down,” added Murphy.
Colm McFadden, who like Murphy scored 1-4 yesterday, is in no doubt as to just what this win means to the players as individuals.
“This is a life-changing event for a player, there is no doubt about that,” said schoolteacher McFadden.
“You are no longer Michael Murphy, you are no longer Colm McFadden. You are Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden the All-Ireland winners and that is a great title to have.
“That's the enjoyment we will get out of it, I feel,”