MICKEY MCCANN was left again to rue too many absent men as his Donegal side were relegated from the Christy Ring Cup on Saturday.
In a play-off in Crossmaglen, London overcame Donegal 2-18 to 1-14.
Donegal were seven in front at a stage in the first half, but the dearth of experience, left by the absentees of the likes of Declan Coulter, Ronan McDermott, Christy McDermott and Davin Flynn proved too much on his side.
“We’ve had a bit of bad luck all season,” McCann said.
“It was just a step too high with the panel that we have at the minute.
“The more experienced boys did step up. They knew it was on the line. It was a big ask for the young boys to step up.
“It was a very big ask. If we had some of the missing boys, we’d have beaten London. It was there for the taking.”
Donegal were rocked with the concession of a third-minute goal, but they hit back with Ciaran Matthewson netting a penalty and Lee Henderson scored nine points. The likes of Sean McVeigh and Danny Cullen carried the fight, but London proved too experienced.
McCann said: “We had a lot of young boys making their debuts in Christy Ring hurling. They battled well.
“London weren’t as good as Down or Derry, but they had a wee bit more class. They had bigger men. They had a bit more power coming out of defence.
“London seemed to work through the lines better. They just outmuscled us in defence. They were just more experienced on the ball.”
McCann has done two years as the Donegal manager and admitted after Saturday’s defeat: “It’s a tough ask to take the third year.”