Galway book spot in semi-final after dominant display
Galway 2-22 Antrim 0-8
With nine of last year's All-Ireland-winning squad in their ranks, Galway had too much skill and experience for their outclassed opponents in this one-sided quarter-final encounter at Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday.
With the aid of the wind, Galway eased their way into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead before Diarmaid McShane broke Antrim's duck in the 12th minute.
The lights remained stuck on green for the raging hot favourites, with their spine particularly merciless in keeping Antrim under the cosh.
Galway hit the jackpot with the one and only goal chance they created in the first half, when full-forward Cian Salmon whipped the ball home, on the ground, in the 28th minute, from the edge of the small square.
Galway team-manager Jeffrey Lynskey admitted that his side were lacking in match-practice and had laboured to embellish their handsome 1-14 to 0-4 interval lead.
"We asked the lads to up it in the second half, especially in the first 10 minutes, in terms of their work rate and tackling, but it didn't happen," said Lynskey afterwards.
"Our 'keeper had to make two good saves after half-time, too. There's a big three weeks ahead of us, but once we know who we are playing in the semi-final, we will be a different animal."
Antrim fought gallantly against the tide, but only Conal Doherty-Cunning managed to get on the scoresheet for the Saffrons in the second half.
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In contrast, the reigning champions were spoiled for choice when it came to sharpshooters and the only surprise was that they had to wait until five minutes before the end of normal time before they netted for a second time.
Antrim trailed by 0-5 to 1-19 when centre-forward Evan Niland goaled with the minimum of fuss to pave the way for a none-too flattering 20-point win for his side.
Scorers - Galway: E Niland 1-7 (4f), C Salmon 1-1, J Coyne 0-4 (1f), J Canning 0-3, R Malone 0-2 (1f), C Fahy, R Murphy, K Cooney, E Fahy, M McManus 0-1 each. Antrim: C Doherty-Cunning 0-5 (4f), D McKernan (f), K Molloy, D McShane 0-1 each.
Galway - J Forde; S Molloy, J Fitzpatrick, R O'Neill; I O'Shea, C Fahy, P Foley; J Coyne, R Malone; J Canning, E Niland, L Forde; K Cooney, C Salmon, R Murphy.
Subs: E Fahy for R Murphy (37); C Caulfield for R O'Neill (50); M McManus for L Forde (50); O Connolly for K Cooney (53); D Mannion for E Niland (56).
Antrim - P Carlin; E McQuillan, L Gillan, C Carson; S Magill, C Boyd, E Smyth; D Black, K Molloy; P McCallin, G Og Laverty, D McKernan; D McShane, C Doherty-Cunning, E O'Neill. Subs: E Laverty for K Molloy (h-t); C Kinsella for S Magill (36); C McDonnell for G Óg Laverty (52); S O'Connor for E McQulland (52); S Shannon for D McKernan (55).
Ref - G McGrath (Wexford)