Clarke sets emphatic tone as Antrim coast past Derry
Antrim 3-23 Derry 0-10 - Ulster U-21 hurling championship semi-final
Antrim eased through to the Ulster final with a huge win over Derry in Ballycastle.
Kevin Ryan's side, who lost out to Clare in last year's All-Ireland decider, were on top from beginning to end.
The tone was set early as Ciaran Clarke struck for Antrim's first goal inside 70 seconds. By the fifth minute, the lead extended to 1-3 to 0-0 with Ryan McCambridge, Niall McKenna and James O'Connell scoring from play.
Derry got off the mark nine minutes into the action with a fine point from captain Tiarnan McCloskey and Shane Farren added a free a minute later.
The respite was only temporary, however, as Antrim dominated the remainder of the half. Clarke (three), McCambridge, McKenna and O'Connell added further points while wing-forward Daniel McCloskey chipped in with three points from play to open up a 10-point lead.
The free-taking prowess of Farren kept Ger Rogan's men ticking over but the visitors trailed 1-14 to 0-7 at half-time.
Saul McCaughan, playing on his home turf, scored 2-1 in a second-half cameo appearance while senior star Clarke ended the game with 1-7 to his credit as Antrim booked their place in next Wednesday's decider.
Scorers: Antrim: C Clarke 1-7 (0-2fs, 1 '65'), S McCaughan 2-1, N McKenna, D McCloskey 0-3 each, J O'Connell, R McCambridge, M Bradley, C McNaughton 0-2 each, D McGuinness 0-1. Derry: S Farren 0-5 (5fs), J O'Dwyer 0-3, T McCloskey, T O'Kane 0-1 each.
Antrim: C Butler; T O'Ciarain, P Burke, F Donnelly; J McGreevy, E Campbell, M Bradley; D McGuinness, M Dudley; D McCloskey, R McCambridge, N McKenna; C Clarke, J O'Connell, S McAfee. Subs: Sean McAfee for Stephen McAfee (h-t), N McNaughton for McGuinness (h-t), S McCaughan for McKenna (42) C McNaughton for McGreevy (48), S Rooney for McKenna (50).
Derry: M Taggart; E Crossan, N Farren, N McCallion; R Farren, B McGilligan, M Warnock; T McCloskey, B Douban; N O'Neill, J O'Dwyer, P Bradley; T O'Kane, S Farren, L Murphy. Sub: P McSorley for McCallion (40).
Referee: J Clarke (Cavan)