Murphy masterclass fires Glenswilly to sweet success
Glenswilly 1-10 Kilcar 0-12
Red-hot Michael Murphy powered Glenswilly to their third county title yesterday.
In difficult conditions in Ballybofey, Murphy scored 1-5 as Glenswilly - who were as far out as 6/1 with some bookmakers beforehand - overcame Kilcar.
Just last month, Glenswilly were heading for relegation in the league, and their championship hopes seemed to be somewhere between slim and non-existent.
But they used every inch of their championship know-how, spurred by Murphy and Neil Gallagher, to claim a win that will perhaps rank as the sweetest of all, given the depths from which they raised this triumph.
It was Glenswilly's third final win - and on each of them Murphy has been the man of the match.
His tenth-minute goal here put Glenswilly firmly in the driving seat. Picked out by a long ball in from Gallagher, Murphy held off Conor McShane before shooting past Eamonn McGinley.
Three points by Murphy, two of them wonderful efforts from placed balls at long distance and the other when he inched away from McShane late in the half, helped Glenswilly lead 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.
Martin McHugh's Kilcar hit back early in the second half, with Ryan McHugh's superb point making it a one-point game.
Kilcar were in their first final since 1993 and they were inhibited by their nerves, kicking eight wides over the hour and dropping another two efforts short.
Three times in the second half Kilcar battled back to within a point, but the experience of Glenswilly saw them through.
Murphy created a fine opening for substitute Ciaran Bonner and popped over a free before Ciaran Gibbons got up to curl over his second of the day and it was the cue for Glenswilly to pop the champagne.
Scorers - Glenswilly: M Murphy 1-5 (3fs, 1 '45'), C Gibbons 0-2, B Farrelly, G McFadden (f), D McGinley 0-1 each.
Kilcar: P McBrearty 0-5 (4fs), R McHugh 0-3 (2fs), S McBrearty (f), M Hegarty, C Doherty, M Sweeney 0-1 each.
Glenswilly - J Gallagher; P McFadden, E Ward, R Diver; C Gibbons, A McDevitt, J Gibbons; N Gallagher, C Kelly; C Callaghan, C Gallagher, B Farrelly; O Crawford, M Murphy, G McFadden. Subs: C Bonner for Crawford (34), D McGinley for Farrelly (BC, 51).
Kilcar - E McGinley; S Shovlin, C McShane, P Carr; P Gallagher, M McHugh, R McHugh; C McGinley, M Hegarty; E McHugh, S McBrearty, A McClean; C Doherty, P McBrearty, M McClean. D O'Donnell for M McClean (45), M Sweeney for Doherty (49).
Ref - S McLaughlin (Malin).