Niall O'Donnell has a shot at the Mayo goals Picture: Geraldine Diver
Neil McGee, Donegal’s three time All-Star full-back, did not feature in Saturday evening’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Mayo.
A troublesome quad injury ruled the custodian of the large rectangle and its environs out of the crunch tie.
Donegal could have done with the Dore man’s physical presence on Saturday evening.
He was naturally disappointed he could not play and equally disappointed with the result but also had no complaints about the outcome.
“I would have loved to be playing but I broke down in training on Wednesday night. I have a quad muscle injury and I just keep breaking down,” said the big man from Gaoth Dobhair.
“What can you say. The better team won on the day and there can be no complaints.”
And the former International Rules player was making no excuses either about Donegal’s lengthy injury list in recent weeks.
“Listen injuries happen. They had their injuries and we had injuries, so it's no excuse.
“I would have loved to be playing, but there were good replacements coming in.
“I thought the full-back line stood up surely and I thought particularly in the first half they were very good.
“McGrath was unlucky that he got a bad knock, and Odhrán and Stephen held their own.
“It was a do-or-die game. It was a knock-out game and they came out on top.
“It was nothing about rivalries or anything like that. We wanted to get to the semi and they wanted to get to the semi.
“We can say we missed chances, but from watching it, they missed a lot of chances as well.
“They got the breaks and they looked to be the hungrier team, and they were the more physical team.”
The long serving full-back wasn’t at all surprised at Mayo’s physicality.
“They pride themselves on it. It was no shock to us coming in because we have been there and we have been on the receiving end of it a few times.
“I suppose the younger boys will take a learning from that. It wasn't so much the quality that beat us, it was their intensity.
“Have we progressed from last year? I don't know and we would have to sit back and look at it again.
“Yes we won Ulster and went back-to-back, but our aim was to progress to the semi and we failed.
“There will be a lot of weeks now that we will be disappointed and we will go back to our clubs.”
Neil is 34, he turns 35 in November, also said he had not given any thoughts to his own future in the Donegal jersey.
“I'll chat with Declan and see where we have to be.”
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