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All Ireland U21 Hurling Championship: Antrim taught a lesson by clinical Tipperary

Tipperary 2-32 Antrim 1-7: Antrim boss Dinny Cahill offered no excuses for his side’s 28-point defeat to Tipperary in Saturday’s All Ireland under-21 hurling semi-final at Tullamore, and admitted that the senior stars involved with the Premier county made it an uphill task for the Saffrons.

It was one-way traffic for most of the 60 minutes with Antrim taking 26 minutes to register their first score.

“When you see so many involved with the senior team, it shows how strong they are. We knew before we started that we were up against one of the best teams in this competition,” said Cahill.

Eight Tipp players are part of the senior squad preparing for the All Ireland final in two weeks’ time, with five almost certain of a starting spot against Kilkenny. It was two of those senior stars who got them off the marl with Patrick Maher opening their account after four minutes and Noel McGrath pointing a ‘65’.

McGrath set up John O’Dwyer for the game’s first goal on 20 minutes to give Tipp a 1-8 to no score lead and Tipp had added anther three points by the time Thomas McCann finally got Antrim off the mark for his side’s only first half score.

O’Meara then landed two fine points as Tipp coasted to a 1-18 to 0-1 half-time lead. Conor Carson opened the second half scoring for Antrim but it provided only temporary respite as the impressive Michael Heffernan and O’Dwyer added scores. It was also O’Dwyer who grabbed Tipp’s second goal on 48 minutes, a score that was cancelled out by Antrim’s only major from Michael Armstrong seconds later.

But Tipp’s appetite for scores didn’t diminish and Sean Carey and Heffernan completed the rout for the Munster champions who will face Galway in the final on September 11.

Antrim: E Gillen; K Molloy, D Donnelly, S Shannon; L McAuley, M Donnelly, J Campbell (0-1); PJ O’Connell, E Laverty; M Devlin, T McCann (0-2), C Rocks; M Armstrong (1-2), C Carson (0-1), D Hamill (0-1). Subs: M Burke for L McAuley, C Brogan for M Devlin, G Laverty for C Rocks, N Cunningham for C Donnelly, M Lynch for PJ O’Connell

Tipperary: J Logue; K O’Gorman, J Coghlan, M Cahill; J Barry, Padraic Maher (0-1), B Maher (0-1); S Hennessy (0-1f), N McGrath (0-6, 0-2f, 0-2 ‘65s’); S Carey (0-4), Patrick Maher (0-1), B O’Meara (0-3); M Heffernan (0-6), P Murphy (0-1), J O’Dwyer (2-3). Subs: A Ryan (0-1) for N McGrath, K Morris (0-3, 0-1f) for Patrick Maher, C Hough for S Carey, J O’Neill (0-1) for S Hennessy, C Coughlan for K O’Gorman

Referee: T Carroll (Offaly)

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