Down’s title wait over after Bailie’s points blitz
Superb display of point-taking from Caolan Bailie helped Down to their first Ulster minor hurling title since 1994 with a 1-12 to 0-18 win over Antrim.
Bailie notched 13 points over the 60 minutes and in truth Down were better than the three points they put between themselves and the Saffrons.
The Mournemen thoroughly deserved to take the Danny McNaughton Cup back home for the first time in 18 years.
Antrim scored 1-2 without reply in the first seven minutes with Christy McNaughton finding the Down net after John McGoldrick and Conor Johnson had landed a point apiece.
By the 25th minute, Down had levelled matters when a Sean Mageean point made it 0-9 to 1-6, but a point each from Gary Lennon, McNaughton and McGoldrick gave Antrim some breathing space before Bailie competed the first half scoring.
Down racked up seven unanswered points, with Bailie and Mageean joined on the scoresheet by Conor O’Neill and Chris Egan.
Antrim struggled to get the ball past the Down three-quarter line and managed just three points in the second half with McNaughton and Gary Lennon landing injury-time scores.
Fergus Cooper’s side now await the draw for the All-Ireland quarter-final on Saturday 27 July.