Posted by Shane Stapleton

Michael Murphy tells us who his Footballer of the Year would be right now, as well as lifting the lid on the fashion sense of his Donegal team-mates and his admiration for Maurice Fitzgerald, Matt Connor, Jonny Wilkinson and Alex Ferguson

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Experience More had a chat with eircom GAA ambassador Michael Murphy to discuss the season so far, who his Footballer of the Year would be right now, the fashion sense of his Donegal team-mates and his admiration for Maurice Fitzgerald, Matt Connor, Jonny Wilkinson and Alex Ferguson.

EXPERIENCE MORE: Hi Michael. So to start off,what has been the score of the season?
MICHAEL: There have been some excellent ones. I’ll go for Eamonn Wallace’s goal against Tyrone.

EXPERIENCE MORE: What has been the tactical development of this season — what's caught your eye?
MICHAEL: I think there’s been a lot made of the defensive play over the last couple of years. I think teams are starting to come up with more attacking ploys and are pushing more men forward and keep more men up the field. I think, attacking-wise, this year’s championship has been fairly good. Teams are attacking with pace, you look at Dublin and you look at Mayo, Tyrone and Kerry too. They really do attack at ferocious pace.

EXPERIENCE MORE: What has been your biggest disappointment of the season?
MICHAEL: Getting beaten in an Ulster final is not a nice pill to swallow. Obviously getting beaten after that against Mayo was not nice either. So the manner of those two defeats was a huge disappointment.

EXPERIENCE MORE: If you were to name Football of the Year in the morning, who would it be?
MICHAEL: Aidan O’Shea has had an absolutely huge year. I’ve been hugely impressed with Michael Darragh Macauley and Paul Flynn of Dublin too, they have been really consistent. Between those three, and Sean Cavanagh from Tyrone too has been really good.

EXPERIENCE MORE: From any era, if you could transfer any one player to your county — which would make yours an All-Ireland winning team and why?
MICHAEL: There’s probably two. Firstly, I would have to say Maurice Fitzgerald, I was lucky enough to see him play. He was an absolutely cracking player, could have played in an era, kicked with both feet and was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime footballers. I suppose from watching on TV, a man from a different era would have to be Matt Connor from Offaly. He was a player who could have graced any era effectively. They were two very potent footballers who would have graced any pitch.

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who has given your team the most memorable motivational speech ever — from inside or outside the camp?
MICHAEL: It would have to be Jim McGuinness. On his first meeting, when he met with us way back those few years ago, it was very memorable. Just in terms of changing, in terms of ideas, in terms of what he was going to do. He asked us to set the stall out from day one. It was everything, just how he laid his plans out in front of us with so much conviction and belief. You had no other option but to just row in behind him with all you got. That came across in our very first meeting with him.

EXPERIENCE MORE: What's the toughest training camp/day/weekend ye have ever done?
MICHAEL: (laughs) I don’t want to seem like I’m ducking the question but to be honest all of our trainings are tough. Every day, your body needs to be in tip-top shape and the ones when you go back over the Christmas period are very tough

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who is the joker on the panel?
MICHAEL: That’s probably Colm McFadden. He’s always up for a bit of messing, whether it’s in the hotel or on the training ground, switching gear bags or putting physio equipment in gear bags. Colm would be up there with the best of them.

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who was the best trainer?
MICHAEL: Probably Paddy McGrath. He’s always there in good time, out on the pitch, and prepared. I suppose he gives his all every single time. Again, it’s a toss of a coin between him and a number of others.

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who is the best dressed?
MICHAEL: The best dressed would be a toss-up between three. Karl Lacey and David Walsh have a bit of the spice boy look about them. And on a given day maybe Gary McFadden, who likes to impress. Especially with a wee tweed jacket that he likes to bring out now and then

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who is the worst dressed?
MICHAEL: I suppose he gets it all the time but maybe Neil Gallagher. We’ll give him the honour again. A wee bit old school but he’s improving

EXPERIENCE MORE: Which player loves the media attention?
MICHAEL: Eamon Magee without a shadow of a doubt, hands down. He loves the media, loves anything to do with it. Loves all any kind of news reports and any kind of do he’ll be there, and with Mark McHugh

EXPERIENCE MORE: Who is the ladies' man of the panel?
MICHAEL: Paddy McBrearty, all the girlies seem to be falling for him and are mad supporters of him. He takes it all in his stride, a very cool customer, he knows the craic

EXPERIENCE MORE: What player from another sport do you most admire?
MICHAEL: It would have to be Jonny Wilkinson because of his dedication and his desire to be as consistent as he is. His consistency is unbelievable and his desire to improve at all times, even though he is in his 30s, it would have to be him

EXPERIENCE MORE: What manager from another sport do you admire?
MICHAEL: Just recently retired, it would have be Alex Ferguson. Again, because of his consistency every single seasons. It’s massive and is something I admire. All of his players are champions and a many of them go on to be managers too.


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