Michael Murphy will start his 40th Championship game as the Donegal captain on Sunday when he leads his men out for their Ulster SFC opener with Cavan in Ballybofey.
Murphy is entering his eighth summer as Tir Chonaill skipper and he is the county’s most successful captain in history.
Still only 28, Murphy has played in 40 games as captain, but came off the bench in the epic 2011 All-Ireland quarter-final win over Kildare at Croke Park.
Murphy has missed only one game in that time – the 2012 Championship opener against Cavan, when he’d had collateral ligament damage.
Murphy came roaring back to hit 1-17 as Donegal went on to win Ulster and All-Ireland titles that summer.
In the 40 games of Murphy’s captaincy, Donegal have won 29, lost ten and drawn one.
The Glenswilly man has scored two goals and 129 points across those games.
This year, Murphy sat out a large portion of the Allianz League, owing to a knee injury. Hugh McFadden captained the team in his absence, but Murphy has led the way since.
Declan Bonner confirmed this week that Murphy would be captain again with McFadden serving as vice-captain.
Eye-brows were raised when the 22-year-old Murphy was appointed captain by Jim McGuinness after he took over from John Joe Doherty as manager for the 2011 season.
Murphy captained the Donegal U-21s to Ulster glory in 2010, and to within the width of a crossbar of pipping Dublin in an All-Ireland final.
At senior level, Murphy had yet to win a game in the Ulster SFC, even thought he’d been on the panel since the summer of 2007.
He was at home in Bomany, on a quiet country road outside Letterkenny, when McGuinness rang to say he wanted Murphy to be his captain.
It was the start of a golden era.
Murphy retained the captaincy during Rory Gallagher’s tenure as manager and Bonner has opted to stick too.
|Michael Murphy in SFC as captain||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Scores|
|2011||6 (1 as sub)||5||0||1||1-11|