BY CHRIS MCNULTY
THEY’RE back to recreate one of 2014’s most famous battles, but Michael Murphy insists that last year’s All-Ireland semi-final will have no bearing on Saturday evening’s Division 1 meeting of Donegal and Dublin at Croke Park (throw-in 7pm).
Rank outsiders Donegal, listed as far out as 8/1 on some bookmakers’ chalkboards, absorbed relentless Dublin pressure in the early stages, before striking three goals – two from Ryan McHugh and another from Colm McFadden – to record one of the county’s best ever victories.
Just over five months on, the two counties meet again, but Donegal captain Murphy says that game, and the subsequent All-Ireland final defeat by Kerry, have both been parked.
“That’s gone,” the Glenswilly man said in an extensive interview this week.
“Of course it was a great day for Donegal, but it’s gone; it’s last year.
“It’s the same with the All-Ireland – it’s gone now too. It has to be gone. We have it well and truly put to bed now. Yes, it takes a while to get over it and it takes a while to adjust to things, but you have to get on with it.
“There’s no point going back to the past. I’m a great believer in staying in the present. Every day you go out, you have to prove yourself as a team and as an individual. Dublin will say the same, I’m sure.”
Bernard Brogan, the Dublin forward, appeared last month on The Late Late Show and it was clear that the events of last August still hurt when he told presenter Ryan Tubridy: ‘I think a lot of us would say that we didn’t leave everything on the pitch that day. We made mistakes, we missed chances, missed opportunities. We got caught on the hop. We let the occasion get the better of us. When you walk away from a game feeling as if you could have done more, that’s what hurts so much and that’s what makes it difficult to take.’
Murphy shrugged off Brogan’s comments this week.
“You don’t really pay much heed to that,” said the Donegal captain, who has scored 23-297 in 87 games in the county shirt.
“Dublin were flying coming into the game. Nobody gave us a chance and, on paper, rightly so. That’s the way it looked from the outside. We had full belief going into the game that we’d do the job.
“That game is gone though. It’s six months ago and there’s been a lot of football played since and a lot of stuff done on the training ground too. It’s completely irrelevant.”
Dublin lost out against Cork on Sunday while Donegal are in high confidence following their win over Derry on Saturday night.