The importance of Michael Murphy to Donegal’s cause was displayed in devastating fashion within 12 seconds of the first whistle in Ballybofey on Sunday.
And afterwards, the typically modest full-forward merely shrugged his shoulders and expressed his content at getting the chance to get back to what he does best, following a groin operation that meant he’d not started a game for the county since last August’s All-Ireland semi-final.
“It’s nice to be back surely to God,” he said after the game on Sunday, in-between his duties as the chief attraction for the children and parents seeking a photo opportunity or an autograph. “It was a long couple of months there. Fair credit to all the lads, who just put their heads down and kept working and plugging away.
“Maybe around the county people were getting a little anxious because we weren’t getting results but we’re just trying to improve the performance ahead of the championship. There’s a lot of things we need to improve on between now and then.
“Geographically, with people in Dublin and Galway it can sometimes be difficult to commute but Tuesday night and Thursday night we good sessions. We’ve three rounds in successive weekends but playing is what you want to be doing, especially for those of us who have came back from injury. The games on top of the training certainly helps and I have to pass on some credit to the medical staff who helped get me back.”