BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN BALLYBOFEY
FOR Michael Murphy, it never really was a case of club versus country.
In the one weekend, he had the chance to captain his country and play for his club in the county final.
Why choose when you can have both?
Less than 24 hours after scoring seven points (0-2-1) for Ireland in their 57-35 win over Australia, Murphy returned to club action in devastating style.
Not content with scoring 1-5, Murphy played the lead role in the second half goals of Neil Gallagher and Ciarán Bonner.
Yesterday evening, for the second time in three years, Murphy was the recipient of the Peadar McGeehin Man of the Match trophy.
Now, he’s back to camp with Ireland ahead of Saturday’s second Test in Croke Park.
“The big thing was trying to make the decision,” he said.
“It was a horrible decision to have to make, but credit to both the Ireland manager and the club.
“It wasn’t easy because the club might have felt that I was turning the back on them. That was never the case.
“Once I made the decision it was just a matter of getting the head down and challenge for the two games.
“It’s football: It’s what I enjoy doing, what I love and, as a young fella, if you were told you’d play for your country and then your club in a county final, you’d take that.
“It was a decision that I made ten days ago. I went with it and I wasn’t going to argue, crib or cry like I maybe might have been able to do.”
Murphy scored two early frees and coolly rolled home a penalty in the 13th minute, but with Christopher Murrin and Hugh McFadden netting goals down the other end, things threatened to go pear-shaped for a time.
He said: “You don’t want to concede goals in a Championship game, but we conceded two today.
“We knew that we needed to tighten up because Killybegs were getting a lot of space around the middle third. We tightened up big time in the second half.
“We started to take the right options in the better places. To get the amount of scores we got today was a big plus.”
Glenswilly led by a point at half-time, but with Murphy at the hub of the controls Gary McDaid’s side powered home in the second half.
They scored 2-10 to Killybegs’ 0-1 in a 26-minute spell in the second-half.
The interval was crucial to Glenswilly in enabling them to relax.
Murphy said: “We got a decent start to the first half only for the goals we let in.
“We really needed to tighten up because the likes of Matthew Smyth and Christopher Murrin were giving them a platform to get ball inside.
“We pressed out on that and our half-forward line really came into it. That allowed us to release the ball in earlier and get runners off that, which really helped.”
Murphy laid the ball off for Neil Gallagher to score the second Glenswilly goal and the totemic full-forward provided the game’s champagne moment twelve minutes from the end.
It was from his delightful back-heel that Kealan McFadden got the possession to feed Ciarán Bonner for goal number three.
Modest as ever, Murphy said: “I’m not known for my touch, but sure some of them go for you.”
Murphy was also at the centre of the incident that led to Jason Noctor’s dismissal in the 40th minute.
After dribbling soccer-style past his man, Murphy was hauled down by Noctor and Ian Molloy brandished yellow to the full-back for the second time, followed by the red.
Murphy has backed the Killybegs man to bounce back. He said: “I played with Jason at underage level. He’s a fantastic competitor and we’ve had many great battles in training with under 21s and seniors down the years. He’s a great lad and he’ll be back again.”
Two years ago, Murphy starred as Glenswilly collected Dr Maguire for the first time.
The scenes yesterday were every bit as jubilant. Having relinquished their title without so much as a whimper last year, Glenswilly were a team on a mission this time around.
Murphy said: “I’ll tell you what: This team has been doubted by a lot of people, doubted by a lot of people within the county.
“I have to go on the record and say that I am a proud Glenswilly man tonight.
“Nobody can take this away from us. It’s a fantastic day.
“Glenswilly has been questioned throughout the whole year in various things. We’re a small club and we’ll just keep battling on and try to get the most out of what we have.
“For us to have two senior championships is absolutely incredible. It’s just amazing.”