AT half time I wondered would Donegal be able to keep up their fierce intensity and pace, they answered with and emphatic 'yes'!
You need huge fitness levels for the type of game they play - they defend in packs and then attack you from deep positions and there is always a supporting player with the man in posession. Over the course of the 70 minutes Kerry actually had more posession than Donegal but they pressurised us into making a lot of mistakes. There were several occasions where Kerry players took the wrong shot selectoin or turned over ball.
Also some of the ball going into the forwards was of very poor quality, we also found it very difficult to isolate our inside line and Donegal must be given huge credit for this. They played wing forward Mark McHugh as a sweeper in front of their full back line and he had a super game. He, like most of the other Donegal players, has huge fitness and energy levels. Jim McGuinness and his management team deserve huge praise for this.
They are one of the fittest and physically strong football teams that I have ever seen. Each and everyone of the players know exactly their role and they support each other brilliantly. Their goalkeeper Paul Durkin was also hugely influential in the game, his kick outs always found a Donegal player and he also looked very assured under the high ball.
Because of the fact that scores were going to be hard earned in a tight game the early Donegal goal had a huge bearing on the outcome. Brendan Kealy won't be happy with his attempt to save Colm McFadden's sideline ball and Kerry were always chasing the game after this crucial score.
To give Kerry their credit even after going down by six points with less than ten minutes remaining they battled to the end and could have stolen a draw. But let's be honest, we would not have deserved it. Donegal were by far the better team over the 70 minutes. Jim McGuinness got all the match-ups spot on and his team were really focused from start to finish. However, they will have been disappointed to concede Kieran Donaghy's goal with five minutes remaining.
Eoin Brosnan and Bryan Sheehan's injuries did not help Kerry's cause, both were huge losses. Brosnan had been playing exceptionally well all year and it was a bit reminiscent of his loss when he had to go off with a calf injury against Dublin last year in the AllIreland final. Sheehan was also a huge loss around the middle of the field and it certainly disrupted our play.
I also thought that the taking off of Declan O'Sullivan in the second half was a very strange decision. There are certain players even if not playing well that you would never take off and he is one of those players. During the second half senior Kerry players like Paul Galvin, Tomas and Marc O Se, Aiden O'Mahony and Kieran Donaghy worked their socks off.
There are going to be a lot of question marks about the future of some of the older Kerry players but that's for another day. These guys have given us great enjoyment for the last number of years and will hopefully continue to do so.
Football has changed dramatically in the last couple of years, Donegal and Dublin being prime examples of this. Kerry will have to review their style to some degree, they will also have to improve in their physical conditioning to compete with the big teams.
Donegal's style of play this year has improved from last year and this was really evident on the day. These are very exciting times for Donegal and it will be a fascinating semi-final battle between themselves and Cork.
As I said already in relation to Kerry, it's back to the drawing board to a degree. This will not be the first time that Kerry will have to reinvent themselves and I have no doubt that this will be achieved with time and patience.