Murphy Admits Surprise at Donegal’s Progress

All-Ireland winner Michael Murphy has admitted that Donegal’s progress this season has surprised him as they prepare to take on Louth in this weekend’s quarter-final at Croke Park.

The Ulster champions are odds-on for a semi-final berth at the expense of the Wee County and in an exclusive chat with BoyleSports ahead of the clash, Murphy praised the influence of manager Jim McGuinness, who oversaw Donegal’s last All-Ireland victory in 2012 during his first stint in charge.

“The turning point in my day centred around one man – Jim McGuinness,” said Murphy.


“He had a vision and a greater plan. It was a big one for us to be able to compete with Dublin and up until the semi-final in 2011, Donegal didn’t feature in any All-Ireland conversation. That defensive approach in 2011 helped us feature, but it was all about attack leading up to the 2012 campaign.

“I’m surprised about their progression this season in one way, but when I look back at the way Jim McGuinness operates, he’s such a good communicator in setting a vision. He’s brilliant at telling you what you’re working hard for – for the county, the people. They’re further down the track than I thought they would be at this stage, but I guarantee there will be no chat about it, they’ll be going after it this year with all their might.”

Murphy also expects Louth to be tricky opponents for Tir Chonaill on Sunday, but is hopeful a renewed scoring power will be enough to see Donegal over the line.

“The two teams aren’t afraid to get 15 men behind the ball,” he added. “Louth will probably use the template they used against Dublin, really defensive. But when they get the ball they attack in numbers and they are also really patient, they held the ball for large chunks of time and I don’t know if Donegal have that ability yet to press up and take the ball off Louth, which they might need to do.

“But Donegal will be glad to get into Croke Park and they have a spread of scorers now. They aren’t just reliant on Oisin Gallen and Patrick McBrearty, they’re getting scores from Ryan McHugh, Ciaran Thompson, Daire O’Baoill and Peadar Mogan, all around the pitch. They’re going to need that this weekend.”

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