Wednesday 21 February 2018

'International break would be massively beneficial to Murphy's future'

There are doubts over whether Michael Murphy will participate in the upcoming International Rules Test against Australia
There are doubts over whether Michael Murphy will participate in the upcoming International Rules Test against Australia

Michael Verney

It is said that a change is as good as a rest, but for Michael Murphy, a rest would be a massive change.

Given his phenomenal talent, the Donegal superstar has been in demand since his youth, with time spread between club, county, college and international commitments.

Doubts hang over his participation in the upcoming International Rules Test against Australia, and Donegal selector/coach Gary McDaid believes a break would be ideal for his Glenswilly clubmate.

"It would be massively beneficial for him to get some time to allow the body to heal and repair over winter," McDaid said.

"It's been great to play so late in the year with the club but for Michael, one thing just seems to lead into another and he's never really been able to slow down."

However, with both Donegal and his club Glenswilly exiting their respective championships at the quarter-final stage this year, McDaid feels opting out for international duty would be invaluable to Murphy's future.

"I suppose luckily for him he's been kept busy with success at club and county, but this year is ending much earlier for him. If he has his way, I don't think he'll be finishing up this early ever again," McDaid explained.

"So I think it would be great to take the chance to recuperate because he might never get it again. On the other hand, he'll definitely get the chance to represent Ireland again."

As a clubmate and former club boss of Murphy, McDaid knows more than most about his unique personality, which was evident when he led Donegal to only their second Sam Maguire success in 2012.

He describes his man of the match performance in the 2013 county final against Killybegs, only 24 hours after representing Ireland in Croke Park, as an "extraordinary achievement by an extraordinary player".

Murphy was courted by several Australian Football League sides during his teens but home is truly where his heart is. McDaid, who was also Murphy's teacher at St Eunan's College, has huge respect for what the player has given back to his club.

"He took a year out after college and he essentially spent the whole time working with the Glenswilly underage set-up. He got all the proper structures in place and we're seeing the rewards already," he said.

"We're only a small club and yet this year we played Division 1 Football at U-14, U-16 and U-18. He's not just from the club, he puts everything back in."

Just over a year ago, the 26-year-old opened a sports shop in Letterkenny with team-mate Neil Gallagher, and McDaid expects him to become a top inter-county manager in time.

Despite a hectic schedule, Murphy has been an ever-present for Donegal.

"He knows when anything is wrong and he sorts out any problems right away himself," McDaid said. "Any advice you give him, he has already done it himself."

Murphy missed a match-winning penalty in the 2010 U-21 All-Ireland final, and McDaid reveals a story which sums up his character, saying: "Michael rang young Conor O'Doherty after he missed a penalty in the Ulster final (this year). He told him he would bounce back from it just like him."

Irish Independent

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