Michael Murphy has taken responsibility to get Donegal out of manys a muddle but on the Sunday the Glenswilly forward was happy to let a higher power even still take the congratulations.
The 21-year-old was clattered by goalkeeper Danny Devlin four minutes into the second half and after a brief interlude when Derry protestations were heard and not listened to, the same two players were again the protagonists for the resultant penalty.
“Some days they go for you and some days they don’t,” Murphy said afterwards. “I was just going in to get the ball and I managed to just guide it. I got around him and there was a bit of contact. I just put the ball down and let God guide it!”
Despite his tender age, Donegal’s public owe Murphy again. For the young man who left the 1998 Ulster final against Derry almost in tears following Joe Brolly’s last minute goal, the revenge mission was complete. A goal and three points, as well as a scattering of assists, proved the captain remains one of the most potent full-forwards in the country and is practically unplayable when in such menacing form at the edge of the opposition square - a place he seldom wandered from in the second half. In lifting the Anglo-Celt Cup, Murphy joined Frankie McFeely, Padraig McShea, Michael Lafferty and Anthony Molloy, who was twice captain on a victorious final day.
“It was just brilliant to captain this Donegal side,” Murphy continued. “They are a great bunch of fellas and Donegal is a mad footballing county. It’s delivered for those people. It’s been well documented that it’s been 19 years since we won. We’re there now and will enjoy this.
“Maybe in the first half we just didn’t get the reward but we just kept plugging away. We are delighted, not only for this group of players but for the people who have given Donegal great service down the years. It’s dedicated to them for their years of hurt.”
A bit like Jim McGuinness in his preparations, Murphy didn’t leave too many people out when he thanked the backroom team and management, supporters and sponsors as he stood addressing the crowd that spilled out on their St Tiernach’s Park pitch. And with so much already to look back on, he also switched his perspective forward to the All-Ireland series.
“We will look forward to the All-Ireland quarter-final,” he added. “I am absolutely over the moon and ecstatic. It was a brilliant, brilliant day. We have taken a lot of criticism down the years and that hurts. Today we are just delighted to have hung in there. We’re really over the moon.”