Supporters in a packed Rose's Bar in the small village of Creeslough, were left to ponder the what-ifs, as local man Colm McFadden's effort rebounded off the post to deny a replay.
The popular pub was packed with supporters with an air of expectation as the game got underway, hoping for scenes reminiscent to 2012 when they brought Sam back to the hills for only the second time.
The village bar is owned by Lorcan Roarty a first cousin of Donegal stalwart Christy Toe, who has pulled few pints working there in his younger days.
Many of the crowd were among the 200 strong group that turned out to bid farewell and good luck to the three local Donegal squad members from the St Michael's Club, Christy, Colm McFadden and Martin McElhinney, on Saturday morning as they left to join their teammates for the journey to the capital.
The pub was in fine voice as the cagey game played out, but as time wore on the tension was palpable and despondent faces met the final whistle.
Margaret Roarty, Christy Toye's auntie summed the feeling the pub.
"We had great hopes going into the game but it was a shame they couldn't just force the draw for replay.
"They have given so much to Donegal in recent years and we are still really proud of all the lads," she said.
One of the few Kerry supporters in Rose's Bar was PJ McAllen, originally from Caherciveen in Kerry, now resident in nearby Dunfanaghy.
He thought a draw was on the cards but was delighted with the win.