The brilliant Michael Murphy in action against Cavan on Sunday. Photo: Thomas Gallagher
Busker Murphy hits the right notes
Back home on Sunday evening from Ballybofey and a friend had taken to Facebook with the following quote from a Cavan fan: "Jaysus that Murphy is like a busker; ye could find him playing anywhere"!
The Glenswilly man was on fire on Sunday - and yes, he could quite literally, be found anywhere on the pitch. He wore No. 14, but was deployed at midfield where he was involved in so much that was positive about Donegal.
He chased back when needed and made a couple of timely interceptions in defence, especially in the first half as Cavan enjoyed a good spell in the game.
He chipped in with six points too, three from play and his overall display was quite brilliant.
The decision to go without Murphy for the McKenna Cup and most of the league campaign would appear to have been a clever call by Declan Bonner.
Watching the players go through their warm-up routine before Sunday’s game, Murphy really stood out. He looks in superb shape - lean and mean - and his performance over the following 70-odd minutes suggests he wants to prove a point this year. And that can only be good for Donegal.
On the game itself, I have to say, I was a bit surprised that Cavan didn’t offer more on the day. They did kick 1-15, but to be honest, Donegal never really looked in any danger. Cavan supporters didn’t travel in big numbers to this game. A sign, perhaps, that they weren’t convinced about their team’s chances?
Murphy aside, there were a number of fine performers for Donegal. I thought Caolan Ward was excellent and he kicked a delicious point in the first half. Eoghan Ban Gallagher also caught the eye. He’s a tidy player who while still relatively new to the senior set-up, always seems to impress.
And Frank McGlynn rolled back the years with another classy display and was an important part of a team that looks to have a nice blend of youth, experience and plenty of quality.
Derry, in Celtic Park, will be an all so different challenge for Bonner and his team.
But Donegal have a good record at that venue and it would be hugely disappointing if their Ulster campaign was to come off the rails on Sunday week.
Minors miss chance
Donegal Minors bowed out of the Ulster Championship on Sunday, although with their heads held high after a much improved performance.
Tyrone beat Donegal with ease a couple of weeks ago and given the problems within the camp since that defeat, few expected the home side to beat Monaghan.
But Donegal should have won. They had Monaghan on the ropes up until well into the second half when the visitors somehow found a way back into the contest.
Donegal’s young players and management can be proud of their performance and they answered their doubters on the day. But I think it’s fair to say, they let Monaghan off the hook and passed up a great chance of progressing in the competition.
McNamee deserves better
I see Derry City’s chairman Philip O’Doherty has moved to criticise those City supporters who dished out a few verbals towards Barry McNamee when Cork City came to town last weekend.
McNamee is in his first season with Cork, having moved from Derry City in pre-season, and it seems some Derry fans have now turned on a player who once drew their admiration.
Mr. O’Doherty said he was disappointed that a section of the Derry support opted to focus their attentions on the Ramelton man every time he gained possession of the ball.
“Barry emerged from our junior ranks and successfully graduated into our first team, so I must admit i was disappointed to witness him getting booed by the same supporters who had praised him on so many occasions last season,” the chairman said.
“I was disappointed as he had given his all to Derry City for years.”
Football fans do have short memories. Had McNamee joined one of Derry’s bitter rivals, you could perhaps understand the supporters’ ire. But Cork could hardly be considered rivals.
Surely McNamee, a player who gave 100 per cent to the Derry shirt during his career, deserves better.