FROM CHRIS MCNULTY IN BALLYBOFEY
THE thing about the great players is that they always deliver upon the big stage.
To see Michael Murphy inspire Glenswilly to the Donegal SFC title yesterday was to witness a true master of his art.
Having captained Ireland to a 22-point win over Australia in the International Rules Test in Cavan on Saturday night, Murphy rolled into Ballybofey yesterday, pulled his gun from the holster and shot his side to a mesmerising win.
While Christopher Murrin and Hugh McFadden goals had given Killybegs real hope and purpose in the first half, Glenswilly inflicted the knockout blows in the third quarter.
Leading 1-7 to 2-3 at the break, Murphy the goalscorer from a penalty, Glenswilly scored another 1-7 to take a nine-point lead into the last fifteen minutes.
Killybegs had Jason Noctor sent off in the 40th minute with Murphy playing the role of provider for the second-half goals of Neil Gallagher and Ciarán Bonner.
His back-heel to send Kealan McFadden in the clear to set-up Bonner was the highlight of a performance pulled right from his top drawer.
“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,” said Murphy.
So, a second title for Glenswilly in three seasons with returned manager Gary McDaid leading the ‘wee club’ to the Promised Land or the second time.
“We have a group of players who, personally I felt, needed to win a second Championship or they would have under performed as a group,” McDaid said.
“At least now those boys can go down in the history books as a team that won two titles.
“That shows that they have a bit of back bone about them and it’s something about which that we can all be very proud.
“Most of our main players are at their peak. They’ve won a second title and hopefully they can win more in the future.”
Killybegs manager Martin Slua Boyle’s evening will have been filled with regrets.
“People are telling me that I should have put two men on Murphy, but then they’re so good at the short kick-outs, we just felt it was best to go at them,” said Boyle.
The honour of accepting Dr Maguire from county chairman Sean Dunnion went to James Pat McDaid.
Having won their quarter-final and semi-final by the skins of their teeth, Glenswilly ensured that yesterday’s was not a nail-biting exercise for their fans.
“We did a lot of work on that in the last two weeks,” captain McDaid said. “We knew that if we let Killybegs get tight late on that we mightn’t get lucky for a third time.”
As a sea of green and gold swept across Sean MacCumhaill Park, the triumphant soldiers of the Glen danced a victory jig on the presentation platform: ‘Charlie fill her up, Charlie fill her up…’
With that, they were off for the mother of parties in Charlie McClafferty’s public house in Churchill.