BY LIAM PORTER
Donegal captain Michael Murphy has said that nothing would give him greater pride than to emulate Anthony Molloy and lift the Sam Maguire for Donegal.
The Glenswilly man played down his role as captain – suggesting Donegal always has 15 leaders out on the pitch – but is in no way dismissive of the honour.
“It’s massive to be the Donegal captain, the clichés are thrown around about the honour and privilege and it is all that – but at the end of the day there are 15 leaders out there. It’s my job to take the toss or to run out first. And yet if I could emulate anything that Anthony Molloy has done, half the stuff he’s done even, I’d be a very proud man.”
Murphy says he and the rest of the squad grew up idolising the players from the 1992 team and all the players want to mirror their historic win.
“They were the legends you were looking up to, the likes of Anthony Molloy, Tonly Boyle, Martin McHugh – you could name the whole 1992 team – that’s the type of players you are still trying to model yourself on.”
To do that he says it is important for the current batch of players to forget about comparisons and get their own game right.
“It is important for us to try and get our own performance intact and go out there and do the best we can – not just for the likes of them but also for the whole county.”
And to get a sense of what the people in the county are thinking in the run up to the final, the captain suggested it was important for the players to be able to soak up some of the pre-game atmosphere.
“I think it’s important that we’re not totally cocooned from the whole build up while at the same time not being overly exposed to it. It’s important to be able to find a happy medium – to go down the town and be able to chat about the game and the need for tickets but still be able to find your own space whether that’s out in the local pitch or the back of a field or up on a beach somewhere.”
“The people of Donegal are good in that way, they do give you your space but they are there if you need a chat too.”
Had Mayo been facing different opposition on Sunday there would still be excitement in the Murphy household, but even though his father is from Mayo, Michael has no worries about where his loyalties lie.
“My dad is from Mayo and there was a bit of cheering when Mayo won the semi-final but I had the green and gold pinned to him fairly quickly after full time hopefully that’ll stay like that now. Myself and Paul Durcan used to talk about it going up to Dublin what we’d do if this ever came about but I’m sure the two fathers will be hoping for the best for Donegal having been living here for the past number of years – they’re well integrated at this stage!”
On the other hand, while he says they might be looking out for him, Murphy says his wider Mayo family connections will hardly be extending any good wishes to the rest of the Donegal team.
“Mayo are going to be in the same boat as ourselves – they are going to see it as a massive opportunity to win an all-Ireland so we need to give them every respect they deserve, take a look at all the strengths they possess and then look at the set of criteria we have to play to and just throw it out there and give it our best for the county on the day.
“If we can get a performance that’s worthy of the people of the county then hopefully that will give us a result. It’s going to be no easy task.”