Twenty years ago, Patrick McBrearty wasn’t born when Donegal overcame Mayo to secure a first ever All-Ireland senior football final appearance.
On Sunday, he was one of Jim McGuinness’s tried and trusted who played a part in seeing off the challenge of Cork. What had been achieved still hadn’t fully registered as he got ready to board the team bus under the Hogan Stand.
“The fact that we are through to the All-Ireland final still hasn’t really hit home,” he said.
“I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to evaluate things. We’ll get back to training on Tuesday night, knuckle down and get focused for the next game,” he added.
“There was a 20 minute period in the second half when we dominated and any time we went up the field we looked like we were going to score. I suppose the one thing I would be disappointed with is our finishing - I thought we we should have been more clinical. But we have another day out and we can fix that on the training field.”
Tactically, once again, Donegal got things spot on - something that wasn’t lost on the youngest member of the starting 15.
“The game plan worked,” he said.
“When we went five points up, I knew we were in the final. That was probably the wrong thing to think about at the time. I was down with cramp at the time, but thankfully we got over the line.
“Last year we came away from here after the Dublin game very disappointed. We were only a kick of a ball away from an All-Ireland final and that was a big motivational factor. We’re in the final now and we will do all in our power to win that game. We’re in dream land at the minute. It’s given another great lift to the county and we keep answering the critics,” he continued.
“I was in the McHugh household on Friday night and Martin said to me that the build-up to an All-Ireland final is the best four weeks of your life. That is certainly something I took on board.”