Donegal were not ruthless enough when beating Cavan yesterday, according to manager Jim McGuinness.
The Ulster SFC title holders had six points to spare - 1-16 to 1-10 - at the end of a game that petered out as a contest with Donegal's top scorer Colm McFadden (1-6) and captain and man-of-the-match Rory Kavanagh leading the way.
Giving his reaction afterwards at Breffni Park, McGuinness said: "There is a lot to work on and we will have a look at the recording of the match. I suppose 1-16 is good kicking.
"Cavan are a good team, they are coming and are going to build in the next couple of years."
Fielding a youthful side in Terry Hyland's first Championship match in charge, Cavan got off to a promising start with three points in the opening five minutes and Brendan Fitzpatrick also struck the crossbar with a goal chance.
But McFadden had Donegal level by the tenth minute and they built successfully from the back as their greater experience and physicality helped them win a series of turnovers.
Paddy McBrearty was brought down by Killian Clarke for a penalty which McFadden tucked away for a 1-7 to 0-4 half-time lead.
Yet, Donegal never really put Cavan to the sword and they were not as clinical as McGuinness would have liked in the second period. Indeed, their intensity slid so much that they allowed Cavan to score 1-4 in the closing 17 minutes.
"There were a lot of things in the second half (that we weren't happy about). We weren't ruthless. With 20 minutes to go, there was a challenge match feel about it.
"That last for a period of about five minutes, then Cavan came back into it. We were ponderous on the ball. We had opportunities to do things and we weren't clinical.
"If we were professional from the very first minutes to the very last minute then we wouldn't have done those things in the second half. We would have continued the journey we were on in the first half and we would have seen it out."
The Glenties man knows that a repeat performance is unlikely to be good enough in their quarter-final tie with Derry in Ballybofey on Saturday, June 16 - the match is a repeat of last year's Ulster final.
But he also recognised the importance of chalking up that first win of the summer, something which Derry will not have the benefit of when the sides meet next month.
"We've a game under our belts and a home game to come. We're trying to move the thing forward on all levels. Not all games are played offensively and not all games are played defensively either.
"There’s a lot of things that have to happen for an overall good performance to come together. For periods today we got what we wanted, whether it was Cavan or anyone else. The boys are realistic.
“It’s irrelevant who we play and we gauge ourselves against what we want to do. It was Cavan today and it'll be Derry the next day and then it'll be Tyrone or Armagh, if we get through, the game after that.
"What we need to do is get our own house in order. It really is about ourselves, how we see the opposition and how we see it unfold."
Meanwhile, Terry Hyland, who only assumed the Cavan managerial reins last month, felt his new-look side had been outmuscled by last year's Ulster champions.
"Donegal come at you in waves of two and threes. To stop that, you need to be pretty physical and we are not at that stage of physical development yet," he conceded.
"Donegal are coming from winning an Ulster title. They are in Division 1 and Cavan are in Division 3. Of course that is a big difference."
There were some positives for him to take into the All-Ireland qualifiers nonetheless, with full-forward Eugene Keating scoring 0-5 from play and penalty scorer Niall McDermott and midfielder David Givney also standing out.
"I suppose you have to put it down to the learning curve. We had a young squad out. The second half performance wasn't that bad," added Hyland.
"Our shot selection was probably a bit off. That's the thing we have to work on, but that's one of those things that comes with experience."