Speaking to the assembled media after the game in Croke Park on Saturday night, Donegal captain, Michael Murphy, would not be drawn on the issue of his sending off during the game.
The Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher, had earlier told the press that he felt Michael was being singled out by referees and he also felt the first yellow card was extremely harsh.
“Ah come here, it was two fouls; two yellow cards. I have to deal with it and get on with it. So that’s all I have to say on it really,” said Murphy.
The Donegal captain felt there was a good mood in the camp leading up to the game.
“We came down here and and we were well up for it. The boys were in good form all week. Any time you’re coming down to Croke Park there’s a bit of pep in your step. It was just wasn’t there over the course of the 70 (minutes).
“We hung in there. We were hanging in there more so than really going at Dublin the way we know we can do. Still, I thought there were some very good performances there. I thought Ryan and Eoin (McHugh) were fantastic; Kieran Gillespie brilliant. They are all huge plusses for us, to come in and to add to our championship squad.
“At the end of the day we’re disappointed and that’s it; not to get over the line.”
Murphy was happy to talk about looking forward to meeting Monaghan in the final game and the chance to put things right.
“That’s what the league throws at you. You are riding on the crest of a wave one minute. It’s the great thing about it, you can build momentum and then you have to pull yourself out of a bit of a hole. And when it happens week on week. That’s what we’re in now; we’re in a wee bit of a hole and we will have to pull ourselves out. We go to Monaghan to play a team we are very familiar with is always going to be difficult, especially in Castleblaney. It’s a huge challenge, but again it’s where you want to be. It’s an opportunity to put things right and that’s what we have to aim for.
“It’s about getting form; it’s about getting players to step up in championship. When we had the three victories happened at the start of the year we knew it wasn’t as euphoric and unbelievable as people were making it out to be. I don’t think the three defeats so far is doom and gloom and despair. At the end of the day, there’s huge learning in league games. There was massive learning in the Roscommon game and massive learning in every game that we play. We have to take the learning for the championship and that is fast approaching now.”
Asked about the fact that Donegal are not out in the championship until June 12th and the prospect of getting an extra game or two by reaching the semi-final, he said:
“It’s worth going after every game. There is no game that you take the foot off the pedal. Of course, there is always value in an extra game. I know you might say there is a greater gap (to the championship this year) but I don’t think there is any greater incentive this year or last year or next year,” said Murphy. “Getting to a semi-final of a national competition is huge and it’s what you want to do.”
Murphy agreed that it was very competitive in Division One. “It is tight and there is a lot of familiarity there now with teams over the last five or six years. Players know each other and games are competitive but they are really good games to be part of,” said the Donegal captain.