It goes without saying that Michael Murphy and James O’Donoghue will be on the All Star football team when it is revealed this autumn.

They are quite simply key players in the Donegal and Kerry respective set-ups ahead of this weekend’s All-Ireland.

Stopping their effectiveness will go a long way to determining who will lift Sam Maguire on Sunday.

An assessment of Murphy and O’Donoghue’s worth has come from the opposing camps, courtesy of Brendan Devenney and Darragh Ó Sé.

Devenney, who won an Allianz League title with Donegal in 2007, believes James O’Donoghue will have an interesting battle with the Donegal full-back Neil McGee on Sunday. 

“There is no doubt that James O’Donoghue is an exceptional player," said Devenney.

"He’s had an unreal season so far. He has averaged 0-09 per game. However, I thought Kerry were over-reliant on him in the games against Mayo.

"With McGee, you just don’t get those opportunities. Already this year he has curtailed the likes of Kevin Niblock, Conor McManus, Jamie Clarke and Bernard Brogan. Of those he has marked this season, 0-03 from play has been scored off him.”  

That tussle between himself and O’Donoghue will be massive.

Donoghue, I think, will be pushing out the pitch, trying to get the ball. Above all, he will be trying to avoid this real powerplay that McGee brings to the game.”

Darragh ó Se, while obviously a fan of Michael Murphy, believes if Kerry succeed in limiting the Glenswilly clubman, they can go a long way to winning the All-Ireland

“He is the outstanding footballer in the country. His decision making and leadership on the field are beyond question,” remarked the six-time All-Ireland winner.

"You just have to watch the timing of his inputs when he drifts from full-forward out to midfield to win kick-outs. He senses the danger is there and he tends to go where the need is at its most.  

“From a Kerry point of view, you go at their strongest point and for me Michael Murphy is that. I think if Kerry can really shackle him, and put him doing stuff that he doesn’t like doing I think you’re giving yourself a great chance of winning.”

As to how you can do that, Ó Sé did put forward a couple of names that could fill the task. 

“It is a big ask because he is a huge man. If you crashed into him, you’d know all about it.

"In these situations, you often have to sacrifice your own game and get in and get down and dirty with him and be in his face for the day.

“Peter Crowley is a very able candidate. Aidan O’Mahony has the experience. No matter who you put on Michael Murphy, size is going to be a factor. He is such a big man.”

Kerry: Path To The Final
Donegal: The Road To The Final

Live coverage of Kerry v Donegal in the All-Ireland football final from 12.30pm on RTÉ2 (throw-in 3.30pm). Watch live on RTÉ Player (Ireland only) and worldwide via GAAGO. Live radio coverage from 2pm on RTÉ Radio 1.