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Ulster U21 Hurling Final: Ruthless Antrim complete Ulster title hat-trick

Antrim U21 0-15 Armagh U21 2-07: It took two late points to seal another Ulster under-21 hurling championship for Antrim at Casement Park against an Armagh side who forced the pace for long periods of last night’s decider.

The sides were level three times in the second half with Armagh edging closer to a first provincial hurling title when Tony Duffy tapped home their second goal.

Antrim then went ahead through James Black and Ciaran Johnston before Conor Corvan tied matters with a minute on the clock. But Antrim produced two late scores to seal a two-point win.

Antrim held the lead after nine minutes with two points from Conor McCann keeping them ahead of Corvan’s free. Corvan then got the better of Adrian Downey to fire past Eoin Gillen on the way to 1-3 without reply for Armagh.

Corvan’s two converted frees alongside Martin Maguire’s effort on the quarter hour had Armagh 1-4 to 0-2 ahead.

Dinny Cahill re-jigged the Antrim forward line bringing in McCann and Tony McCloskey.

A Kevin McKiernan free ended 13 scoreless minutes for the Saffrons but Dean Nugent restored the five point gap from play.

A McCann free cut the gap for Antrim with Desi McLean opening his account to leave a goal between the sides.

1-5 to 0-5 down, Antrim upped the pace after the restart but found Armagh, with Paddy Heaney, Michael Garvey and JJ Hughes superb at the back, hard to shake off. They finally levelled on 46 minutes when McCloskey stroked over his second from play with Nigel Elliott and McCann firing the Saffrons two in front.

Duffy’s major from Kieran McKiernan’s long ball put Armagh ahead but those late scores secured a third title in a row for Antrim.

Antrim: E Gillan; T McAllister, A Downey, J McCouaig; N McAlea, M Donnelly, K McKiernan (0-1f); C Laverty, S Smyth (0-1); J Black (0-1), M Devlin, D McLean (0-1); N Elliott (0-1), C McCann (0-6, 5f), T McCloskey (0-2) Subs: C Johnston (0-1) for M Devlin, C Loughran for A Downey, N Cunningham (0-1) for N Elliott

Armagh: S Doherty; M Garvey, F Corvan, N Duffy; T Marley, P Heaney, JJ Hughes; K McKiernan, M Lennon; M Maguire (0-1), J King, C McKee (0-1); A Mackle, C Corvan (1-4, 3f), D Nugent (0-1) Subs: E Carville for A Mackle, R Lewis for N Duffy, L Woods for T Markey, T Duffy (1-0) for R Lewis

Referee: E Hassan (Derry)

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