Mayo manager James Horan said his side failed in basic skills in the All-Ireland Football Championship final defeat to Donegal in Croke Park today.

Horan’s side conceded 2-01 in the opening minutes and couldn’t break down Donegal enough to get back on level terms, despite reducing the deficit to just three points at one stage.

He told RTÉ: "With 10 minutes to go it was still there for us if we showed that little bit more composure. But we gave seven points away at the start of a game in an All-Ireland final against a team like Donegal. It is very hard to come back from that.

"We kept plugging away, we kept going, the guys kept trying and with a bit of luck at the end maybe would could have been there or thereabouts. But Donegal deserved their victory and good luck to them.

"The second quarter we played very, very well. In the second half we had a few balls but some of our basic skills let us down. Our first touch was not what it needs to be on an All-Ireland day. The ball was hopping off us a little bit and that was giving Donegal momentum and they were counter-attacking.

"We were putting ourselves under pressure so it was some simple stuff that cost us today. That game was there for us but we just couldn’t get ahead and couldn’t take it."

The pain of defeat will linger for the foreseeable future for Mayo and a reflection of what could have been if they had not made such a poor start.

Horan refuted a suggestion that it was another Croke Park moment where the Connacht champions failed to get to cope with an occasion, and feels there is more to come from a young side that have done so well in the last two seasons.

"You hear that stuff thrown out now and then. But look at, the first ball that went in Michael Murphy caught it and stuck a fabulous goal in. Perhaps we could have defended better.

"The second goal was off the post and we had it and dropped it, and that went in. But the guys showed the character they have. They are a serious team, this Mayo team, but we just couldn’t go ahead and Donegal ran out winners.

"We took people by surprise last year as well. We just keep doing our stuff, we got to the league final, we got to the All-Ireland final, this team is improving all the time. It certainly is.

"Today there were hard lessons for us. Some of the basic and simple fundamentals of the game were not what they needed to be. We take it on the chin and head away and think about those during the winter."