'No underestimating task against Dublin' - Michael Murphy

'No underestimating task against Dublin' - Michael Murphy

His last outing in Croke Park ended somewhat prematurely, but Michael Murphy said he wants to learn from that experience, disappointing as it may have been.

“At the end of the day, it was two fouls, two yellow cards and then a red,” he said.

“I suppose I am going to have to try to work on that, and try to executive the skill (of tackling) a bit better. That’s what we’ll have to do this Sunday. You still have to be competitive in the game.”

Murphy’s dismissal for a second yellow on 51 minutes coincided with Dublin also being reduced to 14 men when James McCarthy also picked up a second booking. At that stage of the game, Donegal trailed by only a point, 0-7 to 0-6. Donegal would score only one more point, losing in the end by 1-10 to 0-7.

His team had been well in the game up until that final quarter, but Murphy accepts that there’s room for improvement.

“To go down there and stay along with Dublin, we’re going to have to get more scores on the scoreboard than the last day,” he said.

“There’s no underestimating the task in hand when you’re playing Dublin. They’re a huge side and they have been so consistent over this past number of years whether it’s National League, the Leinster Championship or Sam Maguires.

“They have added a couple of younger players into their panel this year and they’ve been looking hungry and fresh.

“It’s a huge game for us to be going into their backyard, with them coming off the back of seven victories in-a-row. It’s a massive challenge for us, that’s what you’re in Gaelic football for, to go down and pit your wits against a team like Dublin and hopefully come out with the right result at the other end.”

So while Dublin have enjoyed a near faultless run of form in the National League this year, much has been made about Donegal’s struggles of late. The defeat in Monaghan on Sunday was a fourth-in-a-row.

“Obviously it’s there,” the Donegal captain said.

“There are four defeats-in-a-row. Before that, we had three victories-in-a-row. We knew we weren’t absolutely perfect, in terms of our performances. Likewise now, we’ve had four defeats but we’re not at that low of an ebb.

“We take learning out of every game and we’ve probably taken more out of the games in which we were defeated. It’s about taking that and putting it into action now.

“Hopefully this will be the second last competitive game before we go into championship.

“If you look at the two teams we could be up against, Antrim and Fermanagh have had huge national league campaigns themselves. They’ve been very impressive. So it’s going to be very difficult, no matter who we are up against.

“It’s up to us now as players in the next couple of games to put our hands up for selection and hopefully give Rory the most difficult task possible.”

He added: “Saturday night is about honing the way we want to play a bit better. It’s about getting more minutes in the legs. It’s getting players reintegrated back into things and giving new players in the squad more time to get to know each other.

“I think that’s been very positive throughout the national league campaign so far. A number of the younger players that have come into the squad, we’ve got to know them very well.

“At the end of the day, we’re all Donegal players, we’re all Donegal people and we’re out there to do a job for our county.

“We’ve played against each other at club level, we’ve played along with each other at underage and come through development squads together. We’re all coming from similar backgrounds and that all helps. We’ve something in common when we go out there on a Saturday or Sunday together to do a job for Donegal,” said Murphy.