Published Sunday, 23 September 2012
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Donegal last claimed the Sam Maguire in 1992, and on Sunday they defeated Mayo - who were surprise winners over Dublin in the semi-finals - to be crowned all-Ireland champions.
"It's something this group of players would have been dreaming about since they were young boys," manager Jim McGuinness said. "It's probably a life-changing moment for them."
"They delivered today again, and it's a fantastic feeling to be honest."
Donegal made the perfect start when they scored the opening goal of the match after less than three minutes.
Karl Lacey's pass finding Michael Murphy and he finished superbly.
Eight minutes later after a point from Colm McFadden, the same player put seven between the sides, scoring Donegal's second goal.
There was a little bit of luck when Paddy McBrearty's attempted point came off the woodwork and fell nicely for McFadden who did the rest.
After a disastrous start, Mayo clawed their way back into the game and they scored five of the last six points to trail by just three at half time.
Donegal increased their lead to six at one stage of the second half as McFadden and Murphy continued to share the bulk of the scoring.
Mayo reduced the margin to four as they hit back with two in quick succession.
But Neil Gallagher's excellent point with four minutes to go sealed Donegal's victory to secure their second ever all-Ireland title.
For Mayo it was a bitterly disappointing result as they fell to their third consecutive all-Ireland defeat, having lost both the 2004 and 2006 finals.