Irish International Rules captain Michael Murphy. INPHO/James Crombie
Juggling Act

Irish captain Michael Murphy faces potential club versus country dilemma

The Donegal star has a hectic month of activity ahead of him.

DONEGAL’S MICHAEL MURPHY could be faced with a club versus country fixtures dilemma over the coming month after being officially named captain of the Irish International Rules squad yesterday.

Murphy has been named to lead the Irish side into action against Australia in the two-test series in Kingspan Breffni Park on October 19th and in Croke Park on October 26th.

But his club Glenswilly are getting set for a Donegal senior football championship semi-final tie next Saturday against Ardara.

If Glenswilly are successful in that tie, they will progress to a Donegal county final date that is currently pencilled in for Sunday October 20th.

That could pose a challenge in securing Murphy’s availability for the International Rules series and also create fixture difficulties for the Donegal county board.

The Donegal champions are slated to meet their Antrim counterparts in the quarter-final of the Ulster senior club football championship on November 3rd.

However Ireland manager Paul Earley has insisted they will only face that challenge if Glenswilly win this weekend and believes some county boards will be willing to accommodate players who face club versus country dilemmas.

“We’ll see what happens this weekend with his semi-final. There’s no point in making plans until we see what the outcome is.

“That’s an issue as it is with a lot of players. Some county boards have put up their hands and said they would accommodate.


Paul Earley and Michael Murphy
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

“But until we pick the final 23 of the squad at the weekend before, then we’ll have conversations with their county boards. Some of them are willing to be flexible.

“It’s difficult because club competitions are being pushed back further and further in the year. We want to make sure we don’t overload them and that they are fresh as well and not over trained. It is challenging.”


Earley explained how he came to select Murphy as captain.

“His temperament is clear. He was man-of –the –match in last year’s All-ireland final and that shows his ability to take on the mantle of captaincy and also perform at the highest level.

“He has a maturity beyond his years. He has played the game before so he has that experience which is important.

“His commitment has been first class. He is living in Donegal and he has his club commitments as well. He is an inspiration to everyone.”

Murphy is relishing the opportunity to captain the side.

“It is a game I have grown really fond of ever since I played it at u17 level when I got a chance to go out and tour Australia.

“I really enjoyed just pitting your wits against professional athletes. Another side of thing for us as players is to get the opportunity to know players from other counties without being at their throats trying to win championship games.”

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