I was always upbeat about the talent we have coming on, and have argued here for years about the relative (strong) merits of our minors and U21s. I was always confident that in the long run we will be fine. We have a strength in depth in the county we never had before. And yes, Saturday was a decent performance and all the lads involved deserve great credit for it.
But, to be honest, I don't agree with your last line that we are where we are and we have to re-align expectations. We are where we are, because our manager has put us there and he is trying to manage (lower) expectations. We have fabulous young lads coming on, but we also had very good players leave. A blend of the two would make a fabulous team. Yes, of course, some of the older lads would have had to accept lesser roles, but not all of them.
Cunningham has messed about with every system and line up under the sun, long ball / short ball, sweeper / no sweeper, Dooley style keeping v Maguire style etc. I think he is getting there, but I am not sure great credit is due after three years. But, some credit is due. Managing a county team is not easy.
So within the context we are currently in, that was a really good performance. It doesn't change my opinion on the talent available, because I was always upbeat about that. I just don't think we should totally except the current context as being the best possible outcome from Cunningham's reign, because for me, it is very far from it.