Monaghan captain Conor McManus felt that his side did not want to be known as one hit wonders after winning the Division Three league and Ulster senior championship last year.
“It was maybe talked about at the end of last year that maybe Monaghan would go away; that they had their Ulster title and they were content with that.
“It’s not like that. The players in Monaghan are very ambitious and there is a driven set of lads in that dressing room; a set of 30-35 lads that want to achieve and I think you saw that throughout the National League and again here today.
“We had questions asked of us and we responded to that (the penalty). We got a point or two and then got the goal, which gives us a wee bit of comfort going into the last ten minutes.
“In fairness to Donegal the game was very competitive up until the sending off. We stretched it out after that. On a big field like Croke Park is hard to keep it going and keep the legs going when you’re down to 14. But nonetheless we would be happy with how we performed throughout the game,” said McManus, who agreed that it was a big personal moment to go up the steps of the Hogan Stand and collect the cup.
“When you’re young, you see the great men who walked up them steps. But look, it is early days and early in the year. We will get the heads back down on Tuesday night and get ready for championship,” said McManus.
“It’s a credit to the lads and the work they have put in throughout the year. There are a lot of young lads there who are chomping at the bit and they proved that again there today.”
After back-to-back relegations, it is now back-to-back promotions. “We always knew there was quality in Monaghan and now we have 30-35 lads pulling in the one direction and when you have that it is a powerful thing,” said the Monaghan captain.