Vice-captain Hugh McFadden says the Donegal players believe they can return to the top of the game and become All-Ireland champions again.
In his debut season Killybegs player McFadden was an unused substitute in the 2014 All-Ireland final victory over Kerry, but after last summer’s championship he thinks Declan Bonner’s side have the ability to beat anyone once more.
“I think regardless of how Kerry did in last year’s All-Ireland final we still believe in ourselves, that we are good enough to put it up to anyone in the country and that we are good enough to beat anyone.
“But we have to go and prove that. Kerry are a fantastic side and given the age profile of their top players, they’re going to be around at the top end of football again for a long long time.
“I think essentially Dublin showed in the replay the ruthless machine that they are.
"The level of performance they got that day was phenomenal.
"All the games that Dublin have drawn they always come out and won the replay, which just shows the strength that they have.
As a Donegal player there is a wee bit of hurt there when you do see a team who you have performed well against during the summer, that goes on to the All-Ireland final.
"We probably desperately want to get back to that level.”
Donegal and McFadden faced Kerry in the group stages of last year’s competition where a memorable 1-20 to 1-20 draw at Croke Park was one of the games of the summer.
But in their final Super 8s game Donegal were unable to beat Mayo in Castlebar, which ended their campaign.
And even though the team have no complaints about that game, McFadden says he is personally not a fan of the structure.
“From a players’ point of view, we were going into the Mayo game knowing that win or lose, essentially that was the championship," he told Ocean FM.
"We knew going into MacHale Park that day that it was essentially an All-Ireland quarter final regardless of the Super 8s structure.
“There is no excuses to be had from our behalf they were the better team on the day and ultimately because of that they got to the All-Ireland semi final.
"As proud footballers we will never make excuses for that.
Personally, do I think it’s the best way to run a championship? I’m not quite sure, I’m not sold on the Super 8s situation.
"I’m not quite sold on the fact that we have a group stage in the middle of a competition that was already knock-out previous to that.
“But you still get big games, big teams playing against each other more often.
"As a competitor it doesn’t bother me, but as a member of the bigger GAA organisation I’m not quite sure if it is the best way to run our games.
"One thing about this Covid situation, it probably gives us an opportunity to how we organise our fixtures.”