Karl Lacey says that though Donegal went into Saturday's Ulster semi-final against Tyrone as underdogs in the eyes of many, they knew they had what was needed to beat Mickey Harte's side.
"I think the fact that Tyrone, a Division 1 team, played in the All-Ireland final last year and probably beat us in the Super 8s convincingly last year as well, probably gave the right for them to be going in like that," said Lacey, a member of the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards panel for 2019.
We knew deep down within our own group that we're well able to beat them.
Last year in the Super 8s, I think we were five points up going down the home straight; I think the lack of maturity, the young side probably had the bearing on the end result.
We knew we had that to stand to us going into this game. We had confidence after winning the Division 2 title. I suppose we had Tyrone on the radar for a long time as well.
The most pleasing thing coming out of Breffni Park on Saturday was the performance, and getting them young lads to believe in themselves that they can compete with the big teams. That was the answers that we had to get out of them on Saturday night because Tyrone are seen as a top side. That was the most pleasing aspect.
The Ulster final against Cavan will see a change with Donegal wearing the favourite's tag.
"Plenty of the older guys have played in seven, eight, nine Ulster finals; they have only three, four medals to show for that," said Lacey, a 2012 All-Ireland winner turned Donegal defence coach.
"You're not over the line until that final whistle goes on Ulster final day.
"We'll take the positives out of Saturday night, we'll take the belief that we can compete at the highest level but we also need to keep feet firmly on the ground as well. Cavan are a good side, so they are.
"Cavan played very well the first day [against Armagh]. Good open football, threats from all over the pitch. They have corner backs kicking scores; they have Killian Clarke coming up from six; nice versatility around the middle third; Gearoid McKiernan playing full-forward, then he's out catching ball in the middle of the field; Dara McVeety's playing in the half-forward line then he's in the full-forward line; Marty Reilly playing at wing-back, then he's in the full-forward line.
"They're dangerous everywhere. It's a good sign of a team that they have that versatility, boys can go in and out. It's hard to watch that and set up to beat that. We're going to have our hands full in two weeks' time."
Photos by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile & ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy