Karl Lacey struggling to take in Donegal's All-Ireland triumph

Donegal defender Karl Lacey says that he is struggling to grasp that the country has landed the All-Ireland Senior Football title.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Lacey, who had the match ball in his hands when the final whistle was blown on Sunday at Croke Park.

"Afterwards I sat down in the dressing-room for about five or 10 minutes just looking down at the ground.

"It's really hard to believe. We've come a long way in two years."

Lacey paid tribute to the efforts of manager Jim McGuinness, who masterminded an astonishing turnaround in the county's fortunes some 27 months after the low of the infamous qualifier hammering by Armagh.

"The work has been done. Jim worked us hard for two years and we got our just rewards."

The Four Masters club-man also lauded the "unbelievable" support of the Donegal fans throughout the 2012 campaign.

"Since the first day against Cavan at Breffni Park, they have come out in their thousands.

"They have been there for all the journey and it's great to give them something back.

"Just to see Michael (Murphy) lifting the cup and taking the Sam down to Hill 16 and the green and gold. That's a memory which will stick with me for the rest of my life."

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