Gerry McLaughlin email@example.com @dgldemocrat '
Gracious but chastened, Down manager Eamon Burns had no excuses for his side’s total annihilation at Clones on Sunday.
Indeed the genial Burns looked a bit shellshocked as he faced the press in the bowels of the old stadium.
“I thought the best team won on the day.
“Donegal were very clinical and executed very well right from their goal and they created a huge lead at half-time that we found very difficult to overhaul”.
And he agreed that Donegal were “ruthless” and did not falter even when they lost full-back Neil McGee to a straight red card.
“Yes they kept going and that is a great testament to their character and effort.
“I thought we battled it out as best we could but the gap was just too big to overhaul.”
Down’ s normally effective kick-out strategy seemed to go badly awry as Donegal lapped up possession like ravenous wolves.
“It had a massive bearing on the whole game and it is a combination of a lot of things.
“Leading into this game I thought our kick-out system had been working very well.
“But we will just have to look at it.
“Donegal were very impressive, very fit and very focused and we were never really able to keep pace with them”.
For now Down will be ploughing in the Qualifiers after one of their worst ever displays in Clones.
For a proud county like Down this is not excusable and they will be hoping for a positive backlash.