Donegal manager Jim McGuinness paid tribute to the efforts of his players after Sunday's 0-8 to 0-6 defeat by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The Dubs came from three points down to book a meeting with Kerry in the final.
"Dublin ground us down towards the end but overall we are happy with the season," said McGuinness.
"In previous years Donegal would have played more flamboyant football and gone down in a blaze of glory but this time we have picked up some medals."
McGuinness said he was proud the players had brought some long-awaited success to the county, with the Ulster Championship success being followed by an exciting All-Ireland quarter-final win over Kildare.
"It is great to play in Croke Park on days like this," he added.
"All you can do is work hard and see where it takes you."
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy believed a strong mental approach helped his side to victory.
"We knew we had to be patient and very composed to get through - we knew after a certain time we would find openings and we did," said Gilroy.
"We have progressed in the last two years and the only way to make further progress was by making the final."