Donegal manager Rory Gallagher was naturally disappointed on Saturday night when he faced the media.
But he was also extremely proud of the courage, character and heart his charges showed in the second half, after going behind by seven points early in the half.
The Donegal boss also acknowledged that his team had been beaten by a quality Dublin side.
He said they had let the game slip away in the opening half and gave themselves too big of a mountain to climb in the second.
“We are extremely disappointed to be out of the championship,” was the Donegal manager’s immediate response to the outcome of the game.
“I think ultimately Dublin were the better team and there is no doubt about that.
“We knew that we had to take every chance going if we were to be in with a chance,” he insisted.
“We were disappointed in the first half, even before we got our first score, that we had missed a few chances.
“At half-time we were 0-9 to 0-4 down and I felt we should have had six or seven eights points on the board.
“The second half, we got back to three, but fair play to Dublin they rode it out fairly well.
“We had nine wides and three balls into the goalkeeper's hands in the first half from reasonably good scoring positions.
“The time Anthony (Thompson) put the ball over the bar there was a chance for a goal and against a team like Dublin you've got to take everything.”
The game did not go fully to plan but the manager was happy enough with the way the Donegal defensive system worked. especially in the opening 35 minutes.
“Our intention was to explode from the first minute. We have a very definitive style of play and we try and keep it compact against every team,” he said.
“Last weekend we probably played a wee bit different.
“But against Dublin we wanted to keep it tight and they had only two points on the board for the first 16, 17 minutes.
“They opened out and fair play to Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon they kicked a couple of outstanding scores.
“We would be disappointed with that. We felt that we should have been a bit tighter on them at that stage.
“But when you play Dublin you know they are going to kick seven or eight points in a half and it was up to us to try and match that.”
The Donegal boss was also disappointed that his team did not kick on after Ryan McHugh’s goal and after Dublin were reduced to 14 following the sending off of Diarmuid Connolly.
“ We had huge momentum after the goal,” he said.
“It was a brilliant goal. We really opened up the centre of their defence and it put us in a good position after conceding the first two points of the second half to put us 0-11 to 0-4 down.
“It showed great courage and we got back to 0-11 to 1-5 at one stage and then 0-12 to 1-6.
“But you have to give great credit to Dublin. They have matured an awful lot. They are able to win matches all sorts of ways.
“They are able to hold onto possession where traditionally they would have ran at you.”
He also felt that Donegal did not get the breaks after Ryan McHugh’s goal.
“There were a couple of moments after the goal when things did not go our way,” he offered.
“We lost the ball a couple of times. They picked out Paul Flynn with a kick out when we pushed out and had the extra man.
“But you have to give an awful lot of credit to Dublin. They have an awful lot of quality in their team and they were able to produce it when it was needed.
“Once we got the goal we had to push on and make it a point or two game and make them have a go at us.
“There were a couple of times we turned the ball over and we had a couple of chances to hurt them.
“But they showed a lot of composure and our energy was drained as well. We had a few players that were struggling in the second half at the pace of the game.
“It was a very intense game in the second half.”
Gallagher also defended Donegal’s decision not to push up on the Dublin kickouts and explained the reason for not doing so.
“The first two kick-outs they kicked long we won,” he said.
“But it is very difficult to have men back and push up at the same time.
“Stephen Cluxton is the best in the business and we made a decision not to push up and make sure that we were well set up at the back.
“And for long periods in the first half that worked. When we got a free kick we pushed up and we won the first couple and that was the thinking behind it.”
He also explained the reasoning behind playing Michael Murphy much closer to the Dublin goals than he had done in other games this year.
“That is something we had talked about and we tried to get Michael in because in fairness to Dublin they are no way near as offensive as other counties,” he said.
“Unfortunately we did not get enough quality ball into Michael and Patrick.”