Captain Michael Murphy hailed the character shown by Donegal as they ended a 20-year wait for an All-Ireland Football Championship by beating Mayo in the final.

Donegal were 2-11 to 0-13 winners against the Connacht champions, a victory confirming their rise to the top of Gaelic Football over the last two years in what at times was a difficult journey to the pinnacle of the game.

The Tír Conaill men were criticised for their tactics and style of football for much of the 2011 campaign and again this year they were in the spotlight, despite a more attacking approach and overcoming Tyrone, Down, Kerry and Cork.

Man of the match Murphy said: "It hasn’t kicked in yet and I don’t think it will either. It is an absolute unbelievable feeling.

"To be written off for so many years and even written off last year and a wee bit this year, the character of the whole thing and the people of Donegal really shone through I think. That was the most pleasing aspect I think.

"To see so many smiles on faces, and long may it continue over the next couple of weeks. It was an unbelievable feeling, something that is indescribable and something every Gaelic footballers wants.

"It is something we have dreamed about for many years and to actually get over the line is an unbelievable feeling."

"It hasn’t kicked in yet and I don’t think it will either. It is an absolute unbelievable feeling" - Michael Murphy

Murphy was one of two goalscorers in Croke Park, giving Donegal a big advantage that left too much for Mayo to do over the rest of the game.

He was disappointed Donegal did not open up an emphatic lead after hitting 2-01 in the first 10 minutes and stated it was a relief to hold off James Horan’s team.

The 23-year-old said: "It was a bit of a boost to have gotten a couple of goals. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t really capitalise on that through the latter part of the first half.

"We expected Mayo, who have got through to the All-Ireland final and beat the reigning champions, to come back into the game and so they did.

"We were really hanging on in the latter stages of the first half and early in the second half. To just get over the line, we were delighted."