Within 3 minutes of the kick off, their behemoth of a tight head prop had steamrollered over the home winger to score in the corner, unconverted. The first alarm bell had been rung, but the snooze button was hit.
Donegal were playing all the rugby and Strabane were unable to put any phases together, with continual knock ons and turnovers. Donegal used a sensible kicking game, picking up on Strabane's indecisiveness and lack of familiarity in the back three.
Usual fullback Dean McCarter had been pressed into the scrumhalf roll to cover for the influential (but injured) Timmy Cummings, and flanker Andy Sayers was on the wing.
This situation was exacerbated very early in the game when experienced fullback Stevey Campbell sprained his ankle, and had to shuffle over to the wing.
The visitors continued to pressure Strabane and the usually rock solid defence was breached again on 20 minutes, when a well worked move saw the Donegal winger go over in the right corner for another unconverted score.
10 points down and the alarms were getting very loud. It got worse for the hosts as, from a standing start and 10 metres behind an innocuous looking ruck, the Donegal openside was afforded too much time and he ran in for a soft score, beating at least four would-be-tacklers.
Losing 15-0 at half time, Strabane looked dead and buried, but head coach Willy Gibson's motivational words had the desired effect in the second half.
Strabane's pack took charge of proceedings and mounted their first serious assault on the Donegal line. After some excellent work by the whole team, John Mitchell eventually found the first chink in the Donegal defence, and showed his pace to win the race to the line. Geoff Mealiff gratefully made up for a first half penalty miss with a solid conversion, and it was game on 7-15.
The tide seemed to be turning, but Strabane were again guilty of over-elaborating in their own 22, and after a catalogue of errors Donegal hacked through and somehow won the race for the touchdown. 20 points to the visitors, but crucially the conversion was again missed.
Strabane then set about a devastating 30 minutes of forward dominated annihilation. Donegal hardly made it over half way as the home pack rose to the heights demanded by the now vociferous home support.
Pressure began to tell and the big forwards like prop Hugh Flannigan and no 6 Lee Anderson softened up the defence andafter a break from mercurial openside Eddie McCrea, Dean McCarter dotted down under the sticks and it was 14-20.
Straight from the re-start, second row Gordy Baird took the kick and went on a bullocking rampage up the middle of the park, scattering defenders in his wake. The ball was then taken on by his second row partner and inspirational skipper, Adam Cummings, and the ball was only halted over the Donegal line, but was held up a few inches above the turf.
There was a series of 5 metre scrums that had the home support baying for blood. A solid set piece allowed Aaron Cummings to break and and feed the supporting McCarter who scored his second of the day. Up stepped the ice-cool Geoff Mealiff to land the conversion to put his side 21-20 ahead.
After a lightning break from out half Brian Allen and good link play by McCrea, McCarter then forced his way over the line to complete his hat trick and give his side a 28-20 victory.