But, after leading Ireland to a 57-35 win over Australia as captain of the International Rules team on Saturday, Michael Murphy produced a man of the match performance Glenswilly stormed to a second Donegal SFC title after a 16-point win over Killybegs. The Superman gag isn’t far from the truth.
Murphy scored 1-5, all from placed balls, but his role was as much that of play-maker as score-taker. His fingerprints were all over Glenswilly’s second-half goals, scored by centre-field duo Neil Gallagher and Ciaran Bonner.
And yet, locally and nationally, people questioned whether Murphy would be able to commit to Ireland and to Glenswilly whole-heartedly in a timeframe of less than 24 hours.
In the last fortnight, the 24-year-old opted to hold his court before making a decision to take on both. It was an emphatic success.
“It was a decision that I made 10 days ago,” he said in the middle of the pitch yesterday, as his whole parish surrounded him in silence.
“I went with it and I wasn’t going to argue, crib or cry like I maybe might have been able to do. Adrenaline is a great thing, isn’t it?”
Killybegs have failed to pick up so much as a point from 15 All-County Football League Division One fixtures this term and were massive underdogs as they ran out into the Ballybofey drizzle.
However, Martin Slua Boyle’s side were sharp from the blocks. Christopher Murrin’s punt from 45 metres deceived Glenswilly goalkeeper Philip O’Donnell and full-back Eamon Ward to nestle in the net on five minutes.
On 13 minutes, Murphy, who had opened with two frees, slotted a penalty past Antoine O’Hara after Colin Kelly was fouled by Jason Noctor. Normal service, it appeared, had resumed.
However, Killybegs had a second goal on 14 minutes when Hugh McFadden palmed into an empty net after being set-up by Brendan Faherty (2-0 to 1-2).
Glenswilly, momentarily at least, looked rocked and although they went in at the break 1-7 to 2-3 up at half-time, it was the Killybegs camp who would’ve been much the happier at the interval.
However, if Glenswilly were flat in the first-half, their performance in the second period was champagne football. Murphy, acting as playmaker between centre-forward and full-forward, was involved in the move that concluded with Neil Gallagher prodding home a second Glenswilly goal from close range. Noctor then saw red for a foul too many on Murphy. Glenswilly were rolling through the gears and outscored Killybegs 2-10 to 0-1. Gary McFadden bagged seven points but the score of the match and another indicator of Murphy’s brilliance came on 48 minutes. The Donegal captain had his back to goal and was flanked by two Killybegs defenders as a low ball came in. Instead of stopping to pick, Murphy nonchalantly flicked the ball sideways soccer-style for Kealan McFadden to burst into space and square to Bonner to score.
Scorers for Glenswilly: M Murphy (1-5, 1-0 pen, 5f); G McFadden 0-7, (5f); N Gallagher and C Bonner 1-1; K McFadden 0-2; R Crawford, D McGinley, Caolan Kelly 0-1.
Scorers for Killybegs: H McFadden 1-3 (3f); C Murrin 1-0; D Conwell, B Faherty, B Boyle 0-1.
GLENSWILLY: P O’Donnell; B McDaid, E Ward, A McDevitt; R Crawford (R Diver 55), J McDaid (C Gallagher 48), J Gibbons; N Gallagher, C Bonner (O Crawford 56); D McGinley, G McFadden, K McFadden (B Farrelly 49); Colin Kelly (J McFadden 53), M Murphy, Caolan Kelly.
KILLYBEGS: A O’Hara; E Gallagher, J Noctor, D O’Donnell; C Murrin, S Molloy, D Conwell; E Murphy (B Cannon 44), M Smyth; B Boyle, C Molloy (B McGuire 44), D Breslin; B Faherty, H Mcfadden, M Boyle (P Gallagher 37).
Subs: P Gallagher for M Boyle (37), B McGuire and B Cannon for Murphy and C Molloy (44).
Referee: I Molloy.