Donegal's Michael Murphy with Alan Dillon of Mayo on Thursday. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Michael Murphy: 'Seeing the joy in people's faces has reignited the hunger again'

Donegal’s All-Ireland winning captain can’t wait to defend the title.

SPEAKING AS THE GAA announced details of the compulsory wearing of mouthguards in all underage grades up to and including minor for Gaelic football matches from 2013, Donegal’s All-Ireland winning captain, Michael Murphy, spoke with a determination that should strike fear into the heart of his inter-county opponents.

“In 2011, it was obviously our attacking that needed to develop and we worked on that in 2012 and it came on a wee bit but we need to look at that again and look at all facets of our game,” said the 23-year-old when asked if Donegal could improve in 2013.

“I’m sure Jim (McGuinness) and Rory (Gallagher) have already being identifying them.”

And just in case anyone wondered if winning the All-Ireland has sated Donegal’s appetite, Murphy was quick to clarify it had only whetted it.

“If anything, seeing the joy in people’s faces, it’s reignited the hunger again. It’s not about winning games for us, it’s about nailing performances. 2011 performances weren’t good enough to win it, 2012 was adequate enough to win something but now we have to identify things that are struggling in our peformances and try and nail them.

“It’s premature to use the greatness about us, it’s only a couple of years ago we were getting beat by Armagh in the qualifiers so it’s important to keep our feet on the ground big-time.

“We’ve only achieved something quite small these last few years and we’ll be judged on how we perform now in the next few years.”

When asked about FDC Review and club players feeling marginalised by the GAA, the Glenswilly player made it clear that fixture confusion was the biggest concern.

“Last year we won the county championship, this year we were relegated from division one. It was a strange year and one gripe club players have is not knowing from week-to-week, or two weeks ahead, whether they were going to have a game or not.

“Maybe they’d have a holiday booked in August and the next thing a championship game is brought forward to that time. The fixture calendar is the one thing, especially at club level, that could be improved.”

Murphy went on to suggest squeezing the inter-county calendar into a shorter time period with, perhaps, just two weeks between each game.

With regards the other FDC proposals, Murphy agrees with the time-keeping one – whereby the responsibility would be removed from the referee – and feels most players would agree with him.

“The yellow card [proposal] might also help define the tackle which would be a help to players and coaches but, after that, I personally would be happy enough with the game as it is at the minute.

“It’s out of our hands as players, whatever comes in we have to deal with it, there’s nothing you can do.”

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