At the recent Four Masters Bord na nÓg presentations, Michael Murphy spoke of the players he looked up to as a young footballer.
And he also had plenty of words of inspiration for the young players gathered in the St John Bosco Centre in Donegal Town last Sunday evening.
Murphy spoke of his childhood when he tagged along with his father who was working with the development squad.
“I was lucky my father was so heavily involved,” he said. “I saw the likes of Karl Lacy and Papa Durcan. Back then, I used to bring water out to them and from that age I wanted to part of that. I saw that was how I had to do it, to get into the U14 development squad.”
When asked who he looked up to when he was younger, Murphy said he didn’t have to look outside the county for inspiration.
“Anyone that was on the Donegal team, especially the 1992 All Ireland team. I had the All Ireland on video and I remember every single passage of play. Anthony Molloy was someone I really admired.”
Murphy also mentioned Brendan Devaney as a player from whom he learned a lot.
“Whatever he did at the weekend I would have been out trying to reproduce that move myself,” he said.
Responding to a question about what it was like to captain Glenswilly, Donegal and Ireland, Murphy said he had been lucky to have previous captains on the team when he took over the role in Donegal.
"They were great leaders and that helped me a lot," he said. "Jim McGuinness was a strong leader too.
"I always try to lead by example because I believe that is the best way to go about it."
In terms of advice for the young players present, he said: “The magic word is practice. I was 17 when I got into the senior team and I was awe-struck. So I looked around the team and saw who was the best forward on the team and it was Colm McFadden and I wondered how he could be so accurate. I soon realised he was out 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after everyone else, so I knew that was what I needed to do.
“Karl Lacy worked so hard too. He ate well and looked after himself. They were the two players I looked up to and they brought out the best in me.
“So I would say to you to take a look at somebody within your own club and work hard to try and get up to the level they are at. You can all bring out the best in each other.”
He also reminded the young players to enjoy their sport and to take pride in wearing their club colours.
In response to a question about his own goals for the season ahead, Murphy said: “Trying to get the body right. It gets tougher after every year.
“And it has been disappointing for the senior team these last few years. So for us it is getting back to playing good football. The Ulster Championship is where it lies. I believe we can still do it."
When asked about his goal target, he smiled and said: "Its been a while, so I'll aim to start with one and then I'll review!"
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