By Frank Craig

Donegal captain Michael Murphy knows that a formidable and familiar force lies in wait on Sunday week in the form of Oak Leaf number three, Chrissy McKaigue.

Back in 2009, both players were two of the hottest young properties in the GAA and were coveted by a whole host of Australian Football League clubs Down Under looking to unearth the next Tadgh Kennelly or Jim Stynes.

Murphy, after a lengthy and high profile pursuit by agent Ricky Nixon, eventually decided to remain on home soil. But for McKaigue, the chance to join up with Sydney Swans and pursue the dream of becoming a professional athlete in the AFL, was too good an opportunity to turn down.  

McKaigue spent the 2009-2011 campaigns in Oz before eventually deciding to return home to his native Derry where he was immediately drafted into the senior county squad by the then manager John Brennan for the 2012 campaign.

Murphy and McKaigue have since been teammates on the Irish International Rules panel and will no doubt be in direct opposition in Celtic Park next weekend. The irresistible force will meet the immovable object and Murphy knows that something is going to have to give.  

Murphy said: “Chrissy is a massive player for them and there is massive respect for him around the country. Rightly so as he’s a class act. Off the back of an illustrious underage career, he decided to go away to Australia.


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