Michael Murphy says the pain Donegal have endured in Ulster mean his fifth Ulster title in eight years is just as special as his first.
The captain and talisman said after the game: “It feels every bit as good as the first.
“I’ve been a Donegal for so many years, coming to Clones and even going to Croke Park sometimes to watch Ulster
finals. We know how difficult they are to win, we’ve been on the end of a lot of final defeats throughout the years.
“To get the belief back in 2011 from finally breaking one down and winning it was brilliant for this group and then having the influx of younger players, they’ve grown up with winning Ulster championships so it doesn’t really seem to faze them. We’ll take each one at it’s merit and every one feels as good as the last.”
“It’s great to win Ulster, we always value it very highly within Donegal and I think that’s come from the pain we’ve felt throughout the years. But now we go into the Super 8s and we know last year that we failed in our bid to get through to an All-Ireland series in that so we’ll get our heads back down now and see what the draw for the Super 8s brings.
What we’ve done in Ulster won’t matter a jot in the Super 8s. It may give us a small bit of confidence to push on but I know that the other teams won’t give a jot about it.
Murphy scored four points in Clones with Jamie Brennan adding 1-4 and Paddy McBrearty 0-5.
“You look at the players coming in, they all have ability but they all work extremely hard at their games.
“Take Jamie [Brennan] for instance, he’s absolutely phenomenal. He’s very quick and very accurate but he’s always working out on the training pitch and likewise with Michael Langan, Eoghan Ban [Gallagher] and Jason McGee.
“The more scorers the better. The way the modern-day game is going, when you have the ball everybody needs to be a danger and when you don’t have the ball then everybody needs to be a defender and that starts with us up top.”
Murphy hopes last year’s Super 8 experience as well as a successful spring, when promotion from Division 2 of the Allianz League was secured, will stand to Declan Bonner’s side at the business end of the year.
You would like to think that you’re a year further down the line but time will tell.
“The 70-minute game has shown throughout this year in particular. People have been saying pre and post-games in the championship this year that there’s been surprises and upsets but when you play against teams in National Leagues and you’re in and around inter-county sides you realise that there aren’t too many surprises.
“All of those teams are working every bit as hard as each other and within that 70 minutes any team can beat anybody else.”