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'I was a forward trying to get up the field to attack and I get a yellow card' - Murphy

Michael Murphy was controversially sent-off after a late clash with John Small last weekend.

Referee Maurice Deegan shows red cards to John Small and Michael Murphy.
Referee Maurice Deegan shows red cards to John Small and Michael Murphy.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

DONEGAL CAPTAIN MICHAEL Murphy has voiced his frustration at the red card he received against Dublin last Saturday night as his side were chasing a late equaliser.

Murphy became embroiled in an off-the-ball wrestling match with his marker John Small deep into injury-time in their 1-15 to 1-14 defeat at Croke Park.

Replays suggested it was Small who initiated the tussle before Brian Howard got involved and helped bring the three-time All-Star to the ground.

Both Small and Murphy were shown second yellow cards in an incident which has been compared to David Clifford’s dismissal against Tyrone two weeks earlier. 

“What are you going to say about it, I was a forward trying to get up the field to attack and I get a yellow card so that’s the way,” said Murphy.

On the comparisons with Clifford’s sending off, he remarked: “I suppose part of it felt like that anyway.

“I was trying to get up the field and the two of us went down then and all of a sudden, probably because of the length of time we were in the shemozzle, there was always going to be two yellow cards then but it is what it is.

“You’re going to get that in football, two teams going at it, two players going at it. It was frustrating and disappointing but we need to learn from it and move on.”

tensions-run-high-with-players-on-both-dublin-and-donegal Tensions run high with players on both Dublin and Donegal. Source: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

Murphy did appear fortunate not to receive a red card in the opening half after his raised elbow connected with Davy Byrne’s face.

Donegal boss Declan Bonner questioned the lack of injury-time played at the end of the second-half given the Murphy-Small incident led to a lengthy stoppage in play.

“That incident in the middle of the field was held up for at least two or three minutes, maybe I’m wrong, but he blew up,” Bonner stated after the game.

Murphy added: “Honestly I don’t know. I really don’t know, at that stage I was coming off the field and I wasn’t really looking.

“We had that attack towards the end I remember it kind of just petered out towards that end but in terms of the time, I really don’t know.”

Donegal have now failed to beat Dublin in eight attempts since their shock All-Ireland semi-final victory in 2014. And they’ve struggled to close out winning positions so far in the league, falling to a late draw against Mayo and defeat to Galway in recent weeks.

“You need to get over the line, getting over that line is the big part. It’s your extra 20% or 30% to try and do that and we’ve got to believe. I still believe we’re on the right track.

“I still believe we’re on the right journey, the team is maturing and we just need to keep pushing at it.

“I keep going back to it, keep developing the squad that we have there and keep getting bodies playing because I do feel that the game at the moment, it’s a 20 or 25-man game and we need to keep developing a squad that’s strong enough for that and we just keep trying to improve.

michael-murphy-wins-a-high-ball-against-john-small Donegal's Michael Murphy claims a high ball. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“Listen, you learn in every game. Funny, the league is brilliant like, you’ve ups and downs, one week you take learnings and that’s the way we’ve applied ourselves in the last two weeks after the Galway game.

“That was strong and powerful and intense, we took the learnings, we took some harsh learnings from that game, it wasn’t nice, and I thought we applied what we tried to do to that first 20 minutes of the game.

“We just weren’t able to sustain that and that’s what it’s going to take to compete at this level against the big sides against you, your Dublins, your Kerrys, your Tyrones and the teams that are going to be up there, the Galways and Mayos and that’s what we need to try and do as a group and as a squad.”

They’re hovering just above the relegation zone in Division 1 with Monaghan, Tyrone and Kerry still to play.

“We need to get points on the board obviously but I keep saying, points on the board is definitely something we look towards but the big aim is to really be competitive and really try and build that squad.

“A couple of players that we’re still trying to get back and we’ve introduced a number of new players. It was great to get Paddy (McBrearty) back.

“Legs are a crucial part of what we’re trying to do and, again, that’s what the league is for us and it’s just good to get this quality of games every single day because that’s where you learn what you have.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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