Michael Murphy’s true worth to Donegal can be measured with the fact that the Glenswilly man is now the county’s leading scorer of all time.
The Donegal captain (29) has just finished his 12th year as an inter-county footballer, having been first drafted in by Brian McIver in 2007, when he was just 17.
Murphy has been Donegal’s captain for the past eight summers, winning an All-Ireland and four Ulster Championships.
Murphy wears 14 on his back, but spends most of his time around the middle third these days as Donegal – and Murphy – have adapted since his early days.
Murphy has played 142 times for Donegal and has already posted 28 goals and 493 points in the county colours.
No player has scored more than the Glenswilly man. In 31 fewer games, Murphy has scored three goals and 55 points more than Donegal’s record appearance holder, Colm McFadden.
It was in the 2017 Ulster Championship win over Antrim – when he scored six points – that Murphy bypassed McFadden’s tally of 25-438 (513).
Murphy has scored more goals – 28 – than any other Donegal footballer and his points-per-game average of 4.06 is higher than the likes of McFadden, Martin McHugh, Manus Boyle and Brendan Devenney.
1992 star McHugh scored 16-396 for Donegal in 138 appearances while Manus Boyle – who hit nine points in the ’92 All-Ireland final win over Dublin – scored a total of 14-308.
Current Donegal manager Declan Bonner managed 12-193 in 110 games for the county while Patrick McBrearty, who will be out until next summer after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament in this year’s Ulster final, is poised to rapidly climb the ladder.
The Kilcar man, who is only 25, has been on the Donegal panel for eight years now and has, in 96 games, weighed in with seven goals and 240 points and already has a place in the top five within his crosshairs.
But there is no guessing where Murphy – described recently by Roscommon manager Kevin McStay as a ‘once-in-a-generation player’ – could take his tally.