For the Donegal footballer coming to Croke Park is an explainable joy.They have climbed from the northern trenches where Tyrone, Armagh, Derry and Monaghan, seemingly, shelled them to the point of extinction.
Finian Hanley is as capable a marking full back in Ireland but Galway now know what the Ulster counties always have; Michael Murphy cannot be silenced by one man.
“Ah, it’s the quality of the ball,” said Rory Gallagher. “Michael is a big man so you can just lump it in but he can play with the ball, he can win it low, he can win it high, he is very dangerous. I thought his vision to set up the goal for Ryan [McHugh] was top class.”
It was a leap over Hanley and gentle nudge into McHugh’s hands that saw the incessantly roaming wing back plunder a similar goal to the Dublin one from last year.
Murphy essentially played full forward from the 15th minute and Galway paid the heavy toll that Ulster counties have aggressively refused.“Well, you get us a move out of Ulster and you might see it a bit more,” Gallagher smiled.
“It’s not easy when there are five or six men in around the D. That’s the way Ulster teams play. To be honest it was probably part of the plan to play him out the field in Ulster. He is going to get more touches. In other games over the years in Ulster he has got minimal touches when playing inside.”
McFadden is the fall guy, playing out the field, but his diagonal left-footed pass was a valuable contribution before McHugh’s neat finish. “I’ve enjoyed it there, to be honest,” said McFadden.
“It’s a different role to inside especially in Ulster football when you’ve a man hanging out of you and two men in front of you and there’s three or four ahead of them again.“It’s hard to get the ball. It’s something different and I’m glad to be playing where Rory puts me on. You adapt to whatever’s put in front of you.”
That they certainly did.“They’re probably tweaking themselves at the minute,” said Galway manager Kevin Walsh of the man-on-man approach which eventually burst the maroon dam.“Donegal are a good side and they were at times very good at getting men behind the ball. That’ll never leave their game. They are good at it, why would they change it completely?”