Donegal minor team manager Shaun Paul Barrett admitted to being worried when Antrim scored their second goal to go five points up deep into the second half.
Antrim led 2-7 to 0-8 at the time and with ace forward Eoghan McGettigan and midfielder and joint captain Jason McGee, looking on from the dugout, Donegal looked in bother.
“We certainly were up against it at that stage. But we know these lads. We know what they have done and we know what they are capable of doing and we have huge belief in them,” said a relieved Donegal boss afterwards.
“We felt it was now the time for them to stand up and show what they are capable of doing, because up to that they had not performed.
“In fairness they did. They put the shoulder to the wheel and luckily we got the goal back fairly quickly. But certainly when they got the second goal we were under pressure.
“We have a good panel of players. We had to jig things around and we had to look to the players on the field to stand up.
“I think it was then that they took the shackles off. They knew then that they were up against it and that they had to come out and play and if they didn’t they knew they would be gone out of the championship.
“Niall (O’Donnell) took the goals and he kicked a number of brilliant points. He really stood up as a captain and ended up scoring 2-5. He is a fabulous player and we really needed him today.
“Once we got going we had a number of big performances. Kieran Gallagher, Peadar Mogan, Nathan Boyle, Shane Ferry, Odhran Shields and Shane McGrath all stood up and were counted when our backs were to the wall,” said Barrett.
Team manager Shaun Paul Barrett who admitted he was worried when Antrim scored their second goal.
Donegal's Aidan McLaughlin in action against Antrim's Michael Hagan. Photo, John McIlwaine Press Eye/Inpho