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Battling Antrim continue Ulster hurling dominance

By Cahair O'Kane

Antrim won a 12th Ulster Minor hurling title in 13 years but were unconvincing as they failed to pull clear of a gritty Derry side until late on.

The Saffrons emerged 0-17 to 0-9 victors but the sides went in level at half time at 0-6 apiece.

Derry's defence held firm with Corey O'Reilly showing well in the forward line.

It was a game in which defence dominated at both ends, with Eoin Conlon superb at centre-back for the winners, and eventually Derry's inability to trouble the Saffrons defence proving the difference.

Cavan fans, who have been promoting the 'The future is blue' maxim on social media, may not be posting with as much gusto after they saw their side crash out of the football qualifiers after a dismal performance at Breffni Park, losing 0-5 to 0-16.

Terry Hyland's troops were outfought and outgunned by classy Roscommon, who led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the end of a desperately poor first half.

The westerners, with the benefit of the wind, took charge after the break and completely dominated as Cavan, with a packed defence, looked devoid of ideas going forward.

A disappointed Hyland admitted after the match that he did not have all the answers.

"It is hard to take," he said. "We prepared just as well for that as we did for any other game, which is why it's hard to fathom how it ended up the way it did.

"It is what it is and we just have to get up and get on with it.

"When you're playing against a defence like that, you have to be careful with your shot selection and we weren't careful enough."

Out west, once again Mayo were far too strong for old foes Galway in the Connacht final.

A clever pass from Cillian O'Connor carved out an opening for a Lee Keegan goal after 24 minutes and with a 1-9 to 0-5 lead at the interval, Mayo were not going to be denied their fourth consecutive provincial title.

Sligo are on their best run in the qualifiers since 2009 and accounted for Limerick to advance to the third round of the football qualifiers.

Tipperary football continues to make massive strides and their 3-17 to 4-9 win over Laois is another feather in the cap of their smart manager, Peter Creedon, while Clare crushed Carlow.

In the Munster hurling final, second half goals from Seamus Harnedy and substitute Paudie O'Sullivan were enough for Cork to avenge last year's reversal against Limerick at the last game to take place at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

The big story of Saturday was Wexford's dethroning of All-Ireland champions Clare, while Tipperary found their magical goal touch to dispatch of neighbours Offaly.

Belfast Telegraph


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