Grace under pressure is almost as priceless as grace in defeat.
And deeply disappointed Derry team manager Brian McIver said Donegal’s inspired burst immediately after half-time was the crucial factor in his side’s defeat.
The former Donegal team boss saluted his former charges sheer timing and his own men’s stubborn refusal to yield.
But McIver rightly questioned a few frees that went against Derry at crucial times in this torrid encounter.
“The ten minutes after half-time killed us.
“We were really playing well up until that.
“I don’t know what happened us as we did not seem to come out of the blocks at all at the start of the second half.
“And falling behind to Donegal is a tough ask.
“Gerard O’Kane had a chance to leave just a point in it with a few minutes to go.
“But fair play to our boys as we showed great character to come back and we had a few chances,” he said.
However McIver said there were a lot of decisions that did not go our way today but “you had better ask the referee about that”.
“There’s nobody pointing any fingers at anybody.
“But they took their goal chance very well and we did not take our two chances.
“Those are fine margins but we have learned quite a lot from playing the last two All-Ireland champions.
McIver acknowledged that the loss of Fergal Doherty was a big loss to Derry, early in the first half.
“It was a big blow to us but then Big Neil Gallagher did not come on for Donegal until the second half so that cancelled out matters.
“That’s why you have a panel of players and we are not making any excuses,” he said.
But McIver admitted that the absence of Doherty in midfield in the third quarter when Donegal were on fire, was a factor.
“They started to get break ball around the middle of the field and created a goal chance and took it and that was the difference.
“Everybody is very disappointed.
‘We prepared very well for it and played some very good controlled football.
“But we did not get the breaks and they took the chances.
“But I am not pointing any fingers of blame.
“We played well but came up against a very good side out there today.
“And we really put them to the test.
“Donegal are a fine team and they deserved their All-Ireland title.
“And they had that bit of gamesmanship and craft that you need.
“But nobody is pointing any fingers at anybody”.
And then he went back into the losers dressing-room after a tough lesson at the championship coal face at the hands of his former charges.