Michael Murphy frustrated by red card over John Small incident

Donegal captain Michael Murphy has suggested he was the victim when he was controversially sent off with John Small last weekend.

Michael Murphy frustrated by red card over John Small incident

Donegal captain Michael Murphy has suggested he was the victim when he was controversially sent off with John Small last weekend.

Murphy and Dublin defender Small were both shown second yellow cards and dismissed after an incident deep into injury-time at Croke Park.

Armagh legend Oisin McConville compared it to David Clifford's sending off against Tyrone, when attacker Clifford appeared to have been dragged down initially by the defending player.

Speaking on RTÉ's League Sunday, McConville claimed Dublin are "cynical" and queried why Michael Murphy "would get embroiled in that situation" with time running out and his team a point down.

Asked about the incident, Murphy responded: "What are you going to say about it, I was a forward trying to get up the field and attack and I got a yellow card so that's the way."

On the comparisons with Clifford's situation, Murphy said: "Ah, I don't know, I suppose part of it felt like that anyway. I was trying to get up the field and the two of us went down then and all of a sudden, probably because of the length of time we were in the shemozzle, there was always going to be two yellow cards then but it is what it is.

"You're going to get that in football, two teams going at it, two players going at it. It was frustrating and disappointing but we need to learn from it and move on."

The Murphy-Small incident led to a stop in play of around two minutes though referee Maurice Deegan only added on one minute and 10 seconds.

"At that stage, I was coming off the field and I wasn't really looking (at the clock)," said Murphy. "We had an attack towards the end I remember and it kind of just petered out but in terms of the time, I really don't know."

Murphy described it as a "frustrating" evening overall as Donegal slipped to their seventh defeat to Dublin in eight games since memorably overcoming them in the 2014 Championship. They drew once in the 2017 league.

"You need to get over the line, getting over that line is the big part," he said. "It's the extra 20 or 30 per cent to try and do that and we've got to believe. I still believe we're on the right track. I still believe we're on the right journey, the team is maturing and we just need to keep pushing at it.

"I keep going back to it, (we need to) keep developing the squad that we have and keep getting bodies playing because I do feel that the game at the moment, it's a 20 or 25-man game and we need to keep developing a squad that's strong enough for that."

The defeat to Dublin, Donegal's second of the term having similarly coughed up a significant lead during their loss to Galway, leaves them positioned just above the relegation zone.

The back to back Ulster champions are at home to Monaghan this weekend and close out the campaign with tough ties against Tyrone and Kerry.

"We need to get points on the board obviously but I keep saying, points on the board is definitely something we look towards but the big aim is to really be competitive and to really try to build that squad," said former All-Ireland winning skipper Murphy. "There are a couple of players that we're still trying to get back and we've introduced a number of new players.

"It was great to get Paddy (McBrearty) back. Legs are a crucial part of what we're trying to do and, again, that's what the league is for and it's just good to get this quality of games every single day because that's where you learn what you have."

In only slightly different circumstances, Donegal could be sitting pretty on full points after four games. They conceded a 78th-minute equalising goal against Mayo and lost to both Galway and Dublin by a point having led by considerable margins in each game.

"The Galway one was a wee bit different in that we had a huge lead, conditions were a wee bit trickier and it was probably us playing well for one half and them playing well for another half but listen, it's the same story for us," said Murphy. "It's something we need to address but it's the league, it's the journey, we have to keep going."

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