Sportsfile/ Stephen McCarthy
home fires burn

Murphy hoping Glenswilly can put positive spin on unlucky '13

The Donegal club take on Ballinderry in the Ulster club final this Sunday.

IN THE SHORT senior footballing career of Michael Murphy, 2013′s inter-county action is best forgotten.

By the high standards the north west county have set since Murphy and Jim McGuinness made the step up from under 21 level, Donegal were one of the disappointments of the championship.

They limped and laboured through the Championship, managing to see off Tyrone and Down before falling to Monaghan in the final. In Croke Park, with the whole country watching them like a lit firework that never went off, Mayo made them look like a damp squib.

As so often can be the case, Murphy has been able to shelve any stagnant feeling around the county side by returning to the warm hearth of his club. And if the rural club has played a part in boosting Murphy’s confidence, then he has returned the favour in spades by helping the 31-year-old club into their first Ulster final.

“It’s probably redeemed things slightly doing so well with the club,” Murphy says, “you get back to your club and you do your best – it’s definitely helped and put a better twist on the year than I would have first thought.”

After four years in DCU, Murphy feels it’s time to ensure the home fires keep burning.  He plans to continue his studies in Belfast, but that’s all in good time. For now, he’s happy to sub in and out of teaching work in the secondary schools of Letterkenny and the surrounding area.

The 24-year-old calls Glenswilly ‘your stereotypical, rural, country club with a couple of pubs and a church and a small newsagents’ joining the GAA field as the centre of the community. Murphy’s father Michael senior is the club chairman, so getting away from football talk in this of all weeks is going to be a difficult task.


As the captain who lifted Sam Maguire 14 long months ago, there are few places he can go without being recognised. Fortunately, the better off clubs in east Donegal have helped the Murphy men out by making facilities available after dark.

“The support has been brilliant. With the dark evenings, the lights with [Glenswilly's field] wouldn’t be the greatest. You’re counting on local clubs to make their facilities available and what not and maybe they might want to give their facilities a rest but we’ve been very lucky with the local clubs, Convoy, Castlefin and places like this. They’re local enough and we’ve trained there. There’s a bit of a buzz.”

With only a short spin separating Glenswilly from the club out to stop them making local history, that’s probably understating it slightly. His hopes are up again, expectations too.

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