Donegal football star Michael Murphy proves the magic continues off the field in Ballyshannon

A class act, plain and simple

Michael Daly

Reporter:

Michael Daly

Donegal football star Michael Murphy proves the magic continues off the field in Ballyshannon

Michael Murphy speaking at the Aodh Ruadh , Ballyshannon Bord na nOg presentations this evening in the Abbey Arts Centre. Photo Brian Drummond.

A cursory glance at Michael Murphy's football CV will leave you searching for superlatives. We all know about the All Stars, the accolades for club and county and his international achievements as Irish captain.

What his CV doesn't tell you, is that off the field, or more particularly in a room packed with young people, he has no equal. He has a unique ability to communicate on their level and this evening in Ballyshannon, they hung on his every word.

A few hours ago in the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon, Michael Murphy held an often otherwise fidgety audience of excited young boys and girls ranging in age from six to 18 in the palm of his hand when he spoke to them. An audience of more than 300 fell silent as he went back to his own days as a young lad playing for Glenswilly. He told them that playing for his parish, his club and his county fills him with a huge sense of pride.

There was nothing earth shattering or new in what he said, it was just the way he said it, simple, succinct with an easy way, always. You could see the youngsters just got it. 

Murphy, who tonight is attending the Donegal GAA banquet in Donegal town, nipped down to Ballyshannon for a 5pm start on the invite of Aodh Ruadh GAA club's minor board who wanted him there as their special guest. At five to five he was walking across Allingham Park, at 5pm on the dot, he was on stage - no airs and graces, "just tell me what do you want me to do, no bother" he told minor board chairman David O'Donnell moments before they walked on stage.

They had asked him to present medals to their young teams and hoped he might offer a few words of advice too to the young players. He presented the individual medals and other awards to 200 plus young male and female players with his usual grace, and then told them to succeed they should be prepared to put in the extra shifts at training - arrive early and stay on afterwards if you can - "I'm sure your parents won't mind waiting!" he told them.

As wonderful as it is to watch Michael Murphy win a ball mid-air, spin and shoot to the top corner, with two defenders hanging out of him, it's also a wonder to watch him with young people. 

He has it all, and to cap a perfect evening with them, he even joined the young players to do the dab - of course he did - no bother!!!