Murphy magic proves key as Glenswilly secure first Donegal crown
Glenswilly 1-8 St Michael's 0-9
It was the Michael Murphy show at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, yesterday as the Donegal full-forward fired Glenswilly to their first ever county title.
Murphy accounted for all but one point of his side's total as a large attendance of close on 7,000 witnessed one of the best finals in Donegal in some years.
St Michael's played their part, with Christy Toye keeping them in the contest with some great scores.
First-time finalists, St Michael's showed all the nerves as Glenswilly were quick out of the traps.
Murphy, back in his customary role of full-forward, won and pointed a free inside three minutes.
Murphy looked dangerous, and his side were three up (0-4 to 0-1) after 18 minutes, but St Michael's hit back with their best period before the break to level matters at 0-4 apiece, Colm McFadden getting a brace.
Within 11 minutes of the restart, St Michael's hit the front for the first and only time, but then came Murphy's goal as he fielded a high ball, turned and blasted to the corner.
Even though Toye hauled St Michael's level, Murphy struck again in the final 10 minutes with three unanswered points to decide the issue.
On one of those occasions, Murphy again broke free but elected to take a point with a goal chance on.
"I was just in the right place at the right time. I caught a great high ball from Joe Gibbons and turned and fired," said Murphy afterwards. "Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't."
There were scenes of great jubilation as Gary McFadden was presented with the Dr Maguire Cup -- Glenswilly banishing the memory of losing their only other final in 2007 to local rivals St Eunan's.
Indeed, McFadden didn't even give county chairman PJ McGowan the chance to present the Cup, so eager was he to get his hands on it.
Apart from Murphy, McFadden, Neil Gallagher and Ciaran Bonner were excellent for the winners while the McFaddens, Antoin and Colm, Michael McGinley and Toye were best for St Michael's.
Scorers -- Glenswilly: M Murphy 1-7(0-3f, 0-1 '45'), JP McDaid 0-1. St Michael's: C McFadden 0-3 (1f), C Toye 0-3, M McElhinney, D McLaughlin, S Coyle (f) 0-1 each.
Glenswilly -- P O'Donnell; R McDaid, E Ward, R Crawford; J Gibbons, JP McDaid, B McDaid; G McFadden, N Gallagher; K McFadden, C Bonner, C Kelly; D McGinley, M Murphy, L Kelly. Subs: B Farrelly for C Bonner (h-t); M McGinley for D McGinley (42), C Bonner for C Kelly (46), J McFadden for L Kelly (46), G McGrenra for K McFadden (56).
St Michael's -- C Gallagher; B Rodden, S Doak, S Black; P Witherow, M McGinley, M Gallagher; C Gallagher, M McElhinney; D McLaughlin, A McFadden, C Toye; C A McFadden, B McLaughlin, R McLaughlin. Subs: A Kelly for Black 41, S Coyle for C Gallagher 56.
Ref -- J White (Killybegs).