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High-scoring Antrim get in the mood for final showdown

By Steven Doherty

Antrim remain on course to defend their Ulster title after a massive 23-point win over a beleaguered Derry at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

Free-taker Ciaran Clarke, with 1-6, top scored for the champions while Niall McKenna was also in scintillating form, scoring 0-9 from play as Dominic McKinley's side filleted a Derry team yet to win a game in a miserable season.

The high-scoring victory sets Antrim up nicely for next week's Christy Ring Final replay with Meath.

"The most pleasing thing was we came through it and got a lot of scores," said Antrim boss Dominic McKinley.

"It's the longest period we've hurled well for this season, particularly in the second half. The next four or five days is important for us and the good thing is we got no knocks here today."

Much has written about that notorious first game with Meath at Croke Park and the Antrim boss was anxious to have his say.

McKinley said: "There has been a lot of things said but no one ever considered my players. We were involved in that match too but we're the big bad wolf for no reason at all.

"We never lost the game and I knew straight after the game, I said to the boys in the bus 'Do not be drinking because we'll have a match next weekend' when it should have been played.

"It will not be as easy next week against Meath."

Antrim will meet Armagh in the provincial final on Sunday, July 10 after Sylvester McConnell's side defeated Down in the second game at the Athletic Grounds. Armagh finished strongly to win by 4-12 to 0-17.

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