Saturday was a good day in Croke Park for Donegal's minor and senior teams, both progressing in their respective championships with a double over Cork.
There was a similarity to both wins as Donegal came good in the final quarter of both games. The minors, as they did against Derry in the Ulster final, took some time to settle and needed a Jason McGee goal to get them back on track.
But in the second half, they got on the front foot and within 11 minutes they were on level terms. From there they took control and a second goal from Shane McGrath, four minutes from the end, put them on their way. They outscored Cork 1-10 to 0-3 in the second period for a 2-13 to 0-13 victory. They will meet Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final as the Tribesmen defeated Laois in their quarter-final by 3-10 to 0-12.
The senior contest between Donegal and Cork in the Qualifier was a real open affair with both sides content to make it a shoot-out. Cork held a narrow advantage until the final quarter, thanks to a Paul Kerrigan goal on 17 minutes. The sides were level on five occasions in the second half before Donegal hit the front in the 61st minute with a Patrick McBrearty free. It was the Kilcar man's tenth point and he would add one more before being black carded in the 75th minute of a wonderful display - probably one of the best ever by a Donegal forward.
"Just happy to get over it. We had a rough 13 or 14 days after the Tyrone game," said McBrearty, who played down his great return of 0-11.
"I didn't do anything different, to be honest. I made the same runs, but I was lucky the ball found me."
The Kilcar man was very happy with the second half display: "We regrouped at half-time and changed the tactical elements to our play. I think the second half display was probably one of the best this year," said McBrearty.
Donegal, for the first time this year, used the bench to the maximum and there was a huge reception for the introduction of Leo McLoone and he made a decisive contribution.
The final scoreline of 0-21 to 1-15 underlines the nature of the game. Donegal now take on Dublin on Saturday next and the quick turnaround is bound to make it difficult. After three energy sapping games against Monaghan and Tyrone coupled with Saturday's run-out in Croke Park, it will be extremely difficult to get the energy levels up to compete with a Dublin team that have had it so easy so far.
"Dublin are the best team in the country for the last six or seven years. We'll be looking forward to it," said McBrearty.
There will be further arguments about the lack of fairness in the All-Ireland series when one team has to have such a difficult passage and others, like Dublin and Kerry, are waltzing into the last eight.
But whatever happens, this Donegal side have now reached the last eight for a sixth year in-a-row - some record for an Ulster side.
The quarter-final with the Dubs is fixed for Croke Park at 6 p.m. on Saturday next with Tyrone meeting Mayo in an appetising curtain-raiser at 4 p.m.