Kerry manager, Jack O’Connor was downbeat after the defeat but praised the Donegal hunger.
“We were knocking on the door but I dont want to take anything away from Donegal. They were extremely hungry and fought very hard but so did our fellas - right to the end.
“We got a few injuries today. I mean (Eoin) Brosie also picked up an injury which was critical for us. Brosie has been a great driving force for us over the last number of years and obviously Bryan’s
(Sheehan) injury was a disappointment as well. Look, a few things went against us. The (goal from the) sideline was a big score in the context of the game, where scores were very hard to come by.
“What to we do? We take our beating and move on. We were trying to do our best just to freshen it up and I think the players that came on did great for us.
“Any day you concede a goal from a sideline is a bad goal to give away. It gave them the confidence they needed and the break they needed to play the way they wanted to play. Hats off to them. They are a very good team and they are going to take on a very good Cork team in the semi-finals and that will be interesting.
“We fought very hard. We kept fighting, we just needed to draw level with them and we just couldn’t get level. That would have been critical to test their metal a bit. They always managed to stay a point in front. I think there was a free in down in the corner that was played on that was a critical decision as well.
“It was a good enough game for the punters but that is no consolation to us.
“They were very hungry, very fit and they had a lot of bodies back so they are hard enough to break down. We thought we were getting the grips of them late on. We would just like to have another minute or so injury time. I think there was two played. I think we could have done with another minute. Look, at the end of the day, you have to say that on the balance they were the better team.
“I thought in the first half we snatched at a lot of chances and rushed chances. We needed to show more patience and I thought we did that a bit better in the second half. We rotated the ball a bit better but certainly in the first half we snatched at a lot of shots that weren’t really on. We needed to be more patient just after half time I think we were better in the second half.”
The Kerry manager obviously wasn’t keeping the stats of the game as he didn’t think Colm McFadden was overly impressive: “I’m not sure whether he scored from play. Marc O’ Sé had a good game. I certainly won’t be pointing the fingers there,” said O’Connor. (Colm McFadden scored four from play!!)
“I think they were very hungry side, very fit and certainly played well for each other. They have a lot of good footballers so their curve is up. They are still improving. They have improved from last year. Who knows where their curve will finish,” said O’Connor, who would not be drawn on whether Donegal could do the same to Cork.
“I won’t get into that one now (if they can beat Cork). That is a horse of a different colour,” he said, also deflecting questions about the future of some of the Kerry players and his own involvement as manager.