First Croker -- then off to win children's hearts
THEY held their nerve in front of a crowd of 82,000 at Croke Park -- but the excitement and noise levels at Crumlin Children's Hospital posed a new challenge to the Donegal team.
"Bedlam," agreed hospital staff, as they watched the effect the champions' visit was having on the children.
The visit to the hospital is an annual post-match ritual which has eluded Donegal for 20 years and so it was perhaps even more special for the footballers than the young patients.
Players Leo McLoone, Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn, Dermot Molloy and Paul Durcan, with manager Jim McGuinness and selector Maxi Curran stopped off at Crumlin before heading home.
Surgeons, nurses, staff and patients thronged the corridors to catch a glimpse of the new champions.
But one of the most special encounters was with a tiny Donegal fan in the making.
Little seven-week-old Oisin Boyle, nephew of player Marty Boyle from Glenties, was popped into the Sam Maguire cup to pose for pictures.
Oisin, who was born three months premature, was taking it all in his stride, though he held on tightly to Dermot Molloy's finger for comfort.
"It means so much for us to be able to do this," said Dermot,