"I'm still trying to hang on to that bracket of a young fella," laughed Hugh McFadden, as he enjoyed Donegal's big win over Down in Pairc Esler, Newry, on Saturday night.
McFadden was smiling broadly as he lined up to get some food after a very good night for Donegal in the opening game of the league, where four players made their debut.
For 21-year-old McFadden, who played in most games last year, it was good to have new players coming into the set up for 2016.
"There were some very good performances. Ciaran Thompson was excellent beside me around the middle; Michael Carroll did very well and was solid; Stephen McBrearty came off the bench; Eoin McHugh was fantastic; Caolan McGonigle did well when he came on as well. It was positive all around and there were plenty more on the bench.
"This will add a competitive edge to the squad for the next few weeks. It is always nice to get the win and we will have a bit of fun on the trip home," said McFadden.
"It was nice to get the win, especially as we had tough battles up here in Newry before. We were expecting a tough game. It was nice to get the two points and to start on a positive note."
McFadden felt that Donegal were able to capitalise once they opened up a gap in the second half which left Down chasing the game.
"As the game went on, they had to come out and chase the game and we were able to kick on. They tried to get a few goals and left it open for us. The penalty save in the first half was a big turning point. If they had scored that it would left it tough for us.
"It was a tough game in the first half and very competitive. We were just lucky that we took our goal chances in the second half.
"There were some very good performances. We haven't been back too long at it, so we are just getting there. There was a long winter and some have been doing work on their own to get into shape. Thankfully everything came together tonight.
"The freetaker was class; Patrick (McBrearty) was on his game. So there were a lot of positives to take from the game.
"It's a massive win. You would have been looking for two points early on to get a wee bit of positivity and confidence (for the season). You have a lot of away trips, so it is good to get the two points early.”
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