There really was no getting away from the talk of missed chances becoming a missed opportunity in the post-match analysis in Newry.
Down, though, were slightly the more economical in their shooting and managed to overcome Donegal on a 1-9 to 0-10 scoreline.
“We kept Down to a relatively good number of scores but if we, the forwards, had’ve kept our side of the bargain at the other side of the pitch, who knows?,” pondered Donegal captain Michael Murphy outside the Pairc Esler dressing rooms.
“ Down probably deserved it. You find teams at different levels at the start of the league and then it levels out nearer the end, in terms of fitness levels and plans, it levels out. That’s been the case for us over the last couple of weeks and we’ll take it on from there.”
Donegal still have their noses in front on points difference but are now joined on seven points by two others.
“It’s ourselves, Monaghan and Down now on seven points and there’s two games left,” Murphy added. “That’s four points up for grabs. Louth will be fighting hard and we’ve Armagh then.
“There were some tough hard battles but it’s disappointing to come out on the wrong side of it but it’ll keep us going for the two weeks ahead of Louth. We’ve two weeks to work on our shooting.”
Aside the wide count - 12 for Donegal - most of the rest of the conversation was of Derry’s continuation of their fine form in Division One.
Brian McIver’s team, who Donegal meet in the Ulster championship quarter-final on May 25, claimed a 1-16 to 0-13 win over All-Ireland champions Dublin.
“Derry will be a huge game and they’ve beaten Dublin and have been mighty impressive so far,” Murphy added.
“They’re taking the bull by the horns and will have confidence taking on anyone in Celtic Park.
“But that was always going to be the case. All we can do is hold up our end of the bargain and keep pushing forward over the next couple of weeks.”
David Walsh, Donegal’s 44th minute substitute, sang from the same hymn sheet as Murphy.
“We can analyse where we went wrong and it was in the final third,” he said.
“It was the composure that shot us in the foot right from the word go. You always get a tough game in Newry.
“There were just so many handy chances missed. Even if we had’ve score one or two of them we’d have been right there at the end.
“We want to be working in these games, especially in the matches against the other Ulster teams.
“Derry will be a huge test and they’re doing very well in Division One, as the result against Dublin showed.
“You can see that Down have done a bit of homework on us over the last couple of years so it’s up to us to go back to the drawing board. It’ll go down to the wire.”