Donegal manager Declan Bonner hailed his side’s resolve after they fought back from an eight-point deficit to beat Meath and claim the Division 2 title in Croke Park.
Donegal were caught cold by Meath in the early exchanges, and were 1-06 to a point down after just a quarter of an hour. Bonner, however, was impressed with how his side dug in before half time and limited the damage inflicted on them.
"We just didn’t start. There was a real lack of energy and a lack of intensity in that opening quarter and Meath really punished us," Bonner said to RTÉ Sport.
"I felt once we got to grips with Meath, especially Cillian O’Sullivan and Mickey Newman who were causing a lot of bother in that opening period, we did steady the tide just before half time. But we kicked on in the second half and I thought some of the scoring in the second half was top class."
After such a disastrous opening quarter, Donegal responded well to reduce the deficit to five points at the interval, but it was in the second half that they really clicked into gear, outscoring Meath by 1-09 to five points and their solitary goal proved to be the icing on the cake for Bonner.
"The goal won the match for us in the end. It was a brilliant move that was brilliantly finished by Jamie Brennan. That’s Jamie’s third goal on the trot now. There were some really good performances out there today."
Donegal make an instant return to Division 1 as champions following last year's relegation, and attention will now turn to the Championship after a successful spring.
"Players will go back to their club now and we’ll start getting ready for the Championship, and Brewster Park, on the 26th of May."