Cavan have final say after slow start
Cavan 1-19 Antrim 1-11
A power-packed second-half performance provided Cavan with their passport into the Ulster Minor final at Antrim's expense yesterday.
The home side hit eight unanswered points in a blistering scoring spell before cementing a handsome eight-point victory.
In a brisk opening, Antrim looked sharp and enterprising with Conor Small the hub of a lively attack while Joe Maskey and Cormac Murray settled quickly at midfield.
Within the first 10 minutes, Small potted four points to hoist his side into 0-4 to 0-1 lead, Darragh Gannon replying for Cavan in a rare breakaway.
But when David Brady and Conor Brady began to impose themselves in the central area, Cavan looked much more menacing. A Robbie Fitzpatrick point trimmed Antrim's advantage but Brendan Corr and Kevin Small whisked over further points to leave the Saffrons 0-6 to 0-2 ahead.
When Shane Moynagh was shown a black card in the 20th minute, this seemed to underline Cavan's frustration but another David Brady point served to keep them in touch.
However, Antrim struck a telling blow in the 27th minute when Kevin Small unselfishly flipped the ball to Odhran Eastwood who palmed to the Cavan net to put the Saffrons into a more comfortable 1-6 to 0-4 lead and even a David Wilson point before half-time failed to dilute Antrim's confidence.
But it was all so different after the break. Cavan acquired a level of cohesion and physicality that Antrim were unable to combat and from the 38th until the 49th minute the winners struck eight points without response.
Indeed, when the ubiquitous Fitzpatrick coolly slotted home Cavan's goal in the 57th minute it was nothing more than the final nail in Antrim's coffin.
Once again, Antrim skipper Conor Small set a splendid example and pocketed seven points but too many of his colleagues were unable to cope with the demands presented by a reinvigorated Cavan in the second-half.
The Breffni side now await the winners of next weekend's second semi-final between Donegal and Down in the decider.
Antrim: A Hasson; C Garland, C King, P McCormick; D McCormick, E. Walsh, D Carey; J Maskey, C Murray; B Rice, C Small 0-7 (0-5 frees), C Lyttle; O Eastwood 1-1, B Corr 0-1, K Small 0-1. Subs: B McCormick for King, G Walsh 0-1 for Rice (both half-time), E Fyfe for Lyttle (44), J Finnegan for Corr (49), M McNamee for P McCorrmick (49) C Daykin for Walsh (58). Yellow cards: P McCormick (48).
Cavan: F O'Rourke; P O'Reilly, D Monahan, L Fortune; D Raythorne 0-1, S Fortune, D Wilson 0-4; D Brady 0-4, C Brady; D Gannon 0-5 (0-3 frees), R O'Neill, S Moynagh; T E Donohoe, R Fitzpatrick 1-3, J Brady 0-2. Subs: R Clarke for Moynagh (Black card: 20 mins), L Fay Cooper for L Fortune (half-time), C Smmith for J Brady (46), P Leddy for Gannon (57).
Referee: Donal Connolly (Monaghan).