| 11.2°C Dublin

Murphy: I'd take your hand off for any kind of championship


Hopeful: Michael Murphy of Donegal

Hopeful: Michael Murphy of Donegal


Hopeful: Michael Murphy of Donegal

It's put to Michael Murphy that there is more football behind him than ahead of him at this stage. That at 31 later this year and in his 14th season with Donegal, a wipe out of a season at this point in his career would be costly.

And that's why Wednesday's announcement that there will be no action until October at the earliest prompted mixed emotions in Murphy. Disappointment that the hope offered by the government's plan last weekend had evaporated but satisfaction that there is at least something to aim for.

"Initially you were a wee bit down hearted I suppose," he said, speaking as the GPA and the WGPA teamed up with mental health charity Pieta to provide free counselling nationwide.

"But as the time has passed over the last 24 hours, the more as a player you are warming to the fact that there is a definite minimum time, if you know what I mean. You are not worried that it is going to be sprung on you in the way anything can be sprung on your in four or five weeks' time. It gives a little bit more of a blanket."

All semblance of structure has evaporated over the past few weeks. His Letterkenny based sport shops has closed to the public and accepts only online orders now. A Donegal player since he was 17, the order that football brought to all of his adult life has disappeared.

"Ah it's (the culture shock) massive. The first couple of weeks was difficult. You were getting used to it and you were rushing about, getting yourself equipped to a new norm so there was a wee bit of a novelty to that.

"Then the middle two weeks for me, that was difficult in that you're two weeks into the new norm and I wasn't probably adjusting well, given the fact that there was so much structure in my life.

"I think now over the last three or four weeks again, I've adapted, being at home, spending more time with the parents."

There's still bits to be getting on with. He's studying Sports and exercise psychology in Jordanstown. In the meantime, the GAA specially appointed committee will try and get on with the business of picking a way through the pandemic.

Murphy will take a safe return to action of any sorts, regardless of championship structure.

"I just want football back," he replied, when asked about championship structures.

"If it's done through Ulster well and good, we love the Ulster championship. If it's done through a 32-county open draw, bring it on too.

"If we get the word in the morning that it's one of them I'd gladly snatch it with both hands if it can be done in a safe as possible way for everybody.

"We're living in times that are not normal and we just have to try and get back to some normality and that's football and if it's done through an Ulster championship draw or a 32-county open draw I'd take their hands off to get back and do it."

Is he confident there will be a championship this year?

"I honestly don't know," he replied.

"I'm playing, what - 14 or 15 seasons now? - and I really don't know. I'm not a medical expert on the thing. I'm tuning into the six o clock news most nights you are hearing different things all the time. And for me to come out and say that I'm confident or not… I'll tell you one thing, I'm hopeful there is.

"I want there to be, for myself. I'm pushing on in years, I want to play football, I want to get back out on the pitch again. It's what you do it is your passion, it's your hobby, it's everything.

"I love championship football and I'm hopeful there will be that in 2020 but can I predict that or am I confident? I can't control that."