Donegal manager Jim McGuinness says the second half of today's defeat to Mayo was the toughest of his coaching career.
The reigning All-Ireland champions saw their title taken away with a stunning 4-17 to 1-10 defeat to Mayo at Croke Park.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport this evening, McGuinness was understandably disappointed: "Very little to say after that. The second half - It was probably the toughest 35 minutes to watch in all my years coaching. But that’s it you know. I’m very disappointed."
But the Donegal boss had nothing but praise for the Mayo performance, saying the Connacht champions wanted the win more: "You have to take your hat off to Mayo. They were absolutely fantastic.
"I suppose the bottom line is they had a serious hunger and they took the hunger into the game. Our lads probably didn’t have it. They did have it last year to win the thing but they didn’t have it this time around.
"Hats off to Mayo and we hope they can go on and win the All-Ireland now after such a long spell" - Jim McGuinness
“I just wish the very best of luck to Mayo now, you know. Both teams last year were trying to win the All-Ireland for the first time in a long time – and we got over the line and won it - but we would have been delighted for Mayo to win it. That’s just the way football goes and we wish them the best."
Donegal registered just four points in the first half of today's semi-final and in an echo of last year's All Ireland final, it was a flurry of early goals that set the tone for the game to come.
"We were actually happy with the start to the game that we made," said McGuinness. "The two goals were really sucker punches for us.
Cillian O'Connor scored the first with a neat close range finish before Donal Vaughan added a second for Mayo to leave the score at 2-03 to 0-03 after just 25 minutes.
"In the first 15 minutes or so we felt that we were ready to play. We felt we were in the game and we were moving the ball quite well. But as soon as the first goal went in – and then the second – it was looking like it wasn’t going to be our day. Some errors came into our play that weren’t in our play in the first 10 minutes.
"But as i said earlier there’s no point making excuses – it’s hats off to Mayo and we hope they can go on and win the All-Ireland now after such a long spell"