Feature: The magic moments of Michael Murphy

Some of the stand-out moments from a glittering career for club, county and country.

Star in the making

SOME players take years to hit their stride at senior level, but that wasn’t the case for the physically well developed Murphy, who won the Young Footballer of the Year award in his debut season with Donegal in 2009. He gave a string of fine performances throughout, but the highlight was an exceptional performance against a fancied Derry in the Qualifiers. He was still only a teenager but he gave Sean Marty Lockhart a torrid time, and Kevin McCloy fared little better.

Flick up against Kildare

DONEGAL’S extra-time victory over Kildare in the 2011 All-Ireland quarter-final is primarily remembered for a Kevin Cassidy wonderpoint that sealed victory in the dying throes of the game, but it wouldn’t have happened only for a piece of brilliance from Murphy in the lead-up to the score. A slightly wayward pass was played into him and he showed stupendous skill to chip the ball up to himself, keeping the ball in play by a matter of inches.

Doing it for the club

IT’LL come as no surprise to the uninitiated that Murphy spearheaded Glenswilly’s rise up the ranks in Donegal. They won their first-ever title in 2011, and Murphy gave a spectacular display in the final, scoring 1–7 of his team’s 1–8 total in a Man of the Match performance against St Michael’s. He scored an iconic goal on the day – you’ve probably seen it do the rounds on social media this week – rising high to gather a long ball, turning in one sweeping movement and blasting the ball to the corner of the net. He added two more senior titles with his club in 2013 and 2016.

CLUB CALLING….Murphy won three senior championship titles with his club, Glenswilly

All-Ireland glory

MURPHY captained Donegal to their second ever All-Ireland title in 2012, delivering a Man of the Match display against Mayo in the final. His early goal was the stuff of wonders – he caught an inch perfect pass from Karl Lacey on the break, brushed aside Mayo defender Kevin Keane before unleashing a bullet of a shot to the roof of the net. It’s no exaggeration to say that it was one of the all-time great All-Ireland final goals.

Captaining his country

MURPHY captained Ireland to glory in the International Rules series back in 2013, but he didn’t hang around to celebrate and played for his club Glenswilly 24 hours later as they secured their second-ever Donegal title. He represented Ireland on a number of occasions down the years and finished as the series’ joint-second top scorer in 2011.

Downing the Dubs

DONEGAL pulled off one of the great GAA shocks when they blitzed Jim Gavin’s Dublin in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final. Murphy was at the heart of their success, teeing up Ryan McHugh for their crucial first goal, and weighing in with three points on a seismic day at Croke Park.

Hang-time against Galway

THERE was always plenty of debate about where Murphy could be utilized most effectively on the pitch. He tended to drift deep – something he says was his own decision – but he was a titanic figure on the edge of the square and scored a miraculous point against Galway in the 2015 Qualifiers, leaping like a salmon to gather the ball before rounding two men and curling over a beautifully constructed score.

Lighting up the ‘Super Eights’

The ‘Super Eights’ weren’t exactly a rip-roaring success but they produced some entertaining contests on occasion, including a thrilling encounter against Kerry, arguably one of the games of the decade (it finished 1-20 each). Murphy was in top form, racking up a 1-7 haul including a pressure penalty and a last-gasp free to secure a draw.

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