Elliott's A+ display keeps Antrim in drive for five
Antrim 1-21 Down 0-18 Ulster MHC semi-finals
Antrim reached another Ulster minor hurling championship final courtesy of a hard-fought win over old foes Down.
However, the Saffrons were made to battle all the way at Corrigan Park, Belfast, and it took a 55th-minute goal from Man of the Match Seaan Elliott to put some daylight between the teams.
Antrim were 0-3 to no score ahead after 10 minutes, Deaglan Smith with the pick of the points. Six minutes later it was all square as Michael McVey completed a fine Down move to tie the scores at 0-4 each.
The sides went score for score for the remainder of the half, but Antrim fired over two points in the dying seconds through Elliott and Conor McHugh to take a two-point lead into the break.
The hosts opened up a four-point gap, 0-14 to 0-10, after the restart, but two Ruairi McCrickard frees cut the gap to two points. The crucial moment, though, came when Elliott fired an unstoppable shot past Martin Caldwell.
Antrim now face Derry in the decider looking for their fifth Ulster title on the trot.
Scorers - Antrim: S Elliott 1 -9 (4f), T Murphy 0-6 (5f), D Smith 0-3, C McHugh 0-2, E McQuillan 0-1. Down: C McCrickard 0-5 (2f), R McCrickard 0-5f, R Costello 0-3, M McVey 0-2, T Murray, R Blair (f), C Smyth 0-1 each.
Antrim: E McParland; O McAuley, M McGreevy, P Lennon; N McCormack, R McGarry, S Magill; C Boyd, C McHugh; E McQuillan, E McMenamin, D Smith; S Elliott, T Murphy, S Walsh. Subs: P McMullan for E McParland (ht), C Scullion for S Walsh (42), O Donnelly for E McMenamin (42), S O'Connor for O McAuley (51), F McCurry for S Magill (58)
Down: M Caldwell; M Napier, T Murray, R Murphy; C Coulter, R McCrickard, B Campbell; P S Davage, M McKey; R Blair, C Smyth, C Hynes; R Coulter, C McCrickard, R Cistello. Subs: M McAreavy for R Murphy (22), D Kelly for R Coulter (42)
Ref - J Connors (Donegal)