Galway GAA legends Frank Stockwell and Sean Purcell were dubbed the “terrible twins” in the sixties. But after Sunday’s 2011 Ulster final in Clones, a new set have been born courtesy of Murphy and McFadden, as they notched up an impressive 1-6 between them.
If Darren Clarke was going to do it at Royal St George, then Neil Gallagher was going to do it for Donegal - the seasoned veteran at just 28, giving one of his best displays ever in a green and gold jersey, having got a late call up to replace the injured Kevin Rafferty.
This was only matched by the Kilcar tenacity of 32-year-old Michael Hegarty - Man of the Match in an Ulster Final. Add in two points for good measure and you begin to see what it meant for these lads.
It was a glorious day for Donegal, who have played prettier football, it must be said, but the strength of having an Ulster Championship medal tucked into your back pocket, beats a pretty game, aces down, any day. Ask Jim McGuinness who lost three Ulster finals after ‘92.
Ask the likes of Brendan Devenney, Barry Monaghan, Damien Diver, Adrian and Raymond Sweeney, Brian Roper, John Gildea or Shane Carr who would have given their right hand to win an Ulster medal for their county.
2011 will be simply remembered as the year we avenged the two Derry final defeats of the nineties (‘93 & ‘98) and the three post Millennium finals against Armagh (‘02, ’04 & ‘06).
The ‘penalty incident’ or even ‘incidents’ will be quickly dispatched to the history books with the same aplomb, as the fact that there were three wides in the first two minutes of the match.
“We’ve waited a long time” was the simple banter of exchange between two Donegal supporters as they headed out the Lisnaskea road, shortly after 6.30pm on Sunday evening. It encapsulated everything in saying nothing.
Earlier a handwritten sign was hoisted up amidst the celebrations on the field. It read “Derry for the cheap drink - Donegal for Sam”. Now whether this individual was being employed to advertise this claim, his ‘Sam’ reference went down well.
Even the young cub who was carrying the flag as the teams made their way around the field and later the St Michael’s Scout Band, was always at least two strides ahead of his young Derry counterpart.
It was that kind of day.
Meanwhile, President Mary McAleese was attending her last Ulster final. But while she was recognising the exploits of the great Tyrone team of 1986 on the field at half time, her Presidential car, a Merc 06-D - in line with current cutbacks no doubt - to the rear of the Gerry Arthurs stand was being used as a ”bum cushion” by four Donegal supporters, puffing desperately on their cigarettes, as they pondered the exploits of their team in the first half.
All the more Irish, as they seemed totally oblivious to the fact, that they were leaning up against the motor vehicle of the country’s first citizen.
Bomb proof or bullet proof it may have been, but Donegal GAA supporter proof is another matter entirely. 19 years waiting around for the Anglo-Celt Cup was punishment enough.
Ulster Champions 1972, 1974, 1983, 1990, 1992 and now 2011! Only 31 more to catch up with Cavan!