We just weren't clinical enough, says Gallagher
Rory Gallagher rejected all suggestions that Donegal might have been tired from the three games it took to reach this final, pointing instead to the serious effort his players made in the second half that with a little more composure would have been enough to bring home another Anglo-Celt title, instead of conceding it to Monaghan.
Clearly annoyed at the angle of questioning that journalists took while they sought his opinion on this matter, the Belleek man refuted the suggestion that the game was energy-sapping, stating: "I wouldn't have thought they looked too tired in the second half.
"It was very intense and energetic from our boys.
"I think there was 15 wides and that was the difference."
Asked if the effort taken to beat Tyrone, Armagh and Derry accumulated a level of fatigue, he answered flatly: "No," adding: "at the end of the day we are playing our fourth game in about eight or nine weeks and I don't think that takes too much out of anybody."
Donegal will now face Galway in Round 4B of the qualifiers on Saturday, August 1, at a venue to be decided by the Competitions Control Committee on Monday afternoon, a prospect that was revealed to Gallagher after the defeat, who responded: "We will have to get our heads around it no matter what the opposition is.
"We need to perform better. Our first half performance wasn't good enough.
"We were outfought and outplayed by Monaghan, we had more in the second half and needed to be more clinical."
The execution of the skills rankled with the Donegal manager.
"Along with being a wee bit flat in the first half, which will probably disappoint us most," he said.
"I thought in the second half we had an awful lot of possession and probably played a lot of good football but we missed crucial chances.
"We were flat in the first half. I think in the second half our play was very good.
"We had great energy in the second half. But a lot of that had to do with Monaghan as well in the first half. After we went three-one up, they dominated."
The game over, Gallagher turns his attentions to a fortnight's time.
"I think there is a lot of fight left in us, I don't think there was too much wrong with the second half display to be honest," was his thinking.
"Tomorrow we'll have to lick our wounds and look at the video, the same way if we'd won, we have to move on, we have one game to a quarter-final.
"It's not where we want to be tomorrow but it's where we are."
A question mark will hang over the involvement of Karl Lacey for when they meet the Tribesmen, who have already taken care of Ulster opposition in the qualifiers in the form of Armagh and Derry.
Lacey scored in the second minute of the game and appeared to have a massive appetite for action before having to be replaced in the 40th minute.
"He got a bang in the knee and was worried about it at half time," Gallagher revealed.
"I don't know how serious it is, nothing overly serious, but we will have to see over the next few weeks."