Antrim will face off against Down in the Ulster SHC final following wins for both counties in today's semi finals at Casement and Gaelic Park respectively.
Saffrons' goals after 18 and 57 minutes from Paddy Richmond and Jim Connolly paved the way for their 2-14 to 0-12 win over Derry. Paul Braniff, so vital to the Down cause in their league run, picked off five points as Down claimed the predicted win - by ten points, easing out 1-19 to 1-09 winners over New York tonight.
In a repeat of the 2003 final, although quite a deal closer this time, Dinny Cahill's Antrim side were just four points ahead at the break, thanks largely to Richmond's eighteenth minute goal.
Championship debutant Kevin Hinphey opened the scoring with a crisp first minute shot for the Oak Leaf side, but a run of four successive scores from Michael and Ciaran Herron and Liam Watson (0-02) soon had the Saffrons clicking.
Watson hit a third in between two left wing frees from Gregory Biggs before Richmond jumped highest to claim and then drive home past the dive of Kieran Stevenson in the Derry goal.
Richmond, Watson and Brian McFall had notched 1-05 between them at the break, with Hinphey, McGonigle, Biggs (0-03, 3f) and late call-up Paul Doherty keeping Derry into at 0-07 to 1-08 down.
There were just two scores in the opening ten minutes of the second half, both going to Connolly and Watson. Biggs replied with another free on 46 minutes but Connolly struck the telling blow forty seconds later when he caught a long ball from Ciaran Herron to plant Antrim's second past Stevenson for an 8-point lead.
Connolly, McFall (0-02) and Calum McGuckian wrapped up the Saffrons' scoring with McGonigle (0-03) adding to the 1-04 he hit against London, and Gary Biggs adding some respectability to the score line.
New York had the better of the opening exchanges against Down, pointing through Sean Quire, Dave Simms and Vinny Norton for a 0-03 to no score lead after thirteen minutes. Soon, the Ulster men were into their stride with Braniff hitting his five between 14 and 29 minutes, and further scores from Martin Coutler (0-02) and Mick Braniff (0-02), in for late withdrawal John Convery, helping them to a 0-13 to 1-03 half time lead.
Bonny Kennedy struck off his right side for New York's goal on 20 minutes following a slick set-up from Dave Simms. The busy half forward stuck to his guns in the second half and through strong fielding, racked up 1-02.
Braniff was withdrawn on the hour mark following Martin Coulter's close range goal (1-04), and with Brendan McGourty backing that with three second half points Down victory was sealed. Tom Moylan tagged on two later scores as New York ended as they had begun.
Antrim 2-14 Derry 0-12
Scorers: Antrim: J Connolly 1-02, B McFall 0-05, P Richmond 1-00, L Watson 0-03, M Herron 0-01, C Herron 0-01, L Richmond 0-01, C McGuckian 0-01
Derry: Gregory Biggs 0-04, G McGonigle 0-04, K Hinphey 0-02, P Doherty, Gary Biggs 0-01 each
HT: Antrim 1-08 Derry 0-07
Antrim: D Quinn; M McCambridge, K Kelly, B Herron; J Campbell, K McKeegan, C Herron; J Connolly, M Scullion; L Richmond, C McGuickian, M Herron; L Watson, P Richmond, B McFall.
Subs: D Quinn for Watson (46 mins), J McIntosh for Scullion (52 mins)
Derry: K Stevenson; G Brunton, L Hinphey, M Conway; B Ward, C Brunton, P O'Kane; P Doherty, F Kelly; K Hinphey, Gregory Biggs, Gary Biggs; D McGrellis, P Hearty, G McGonigle.
Subs: B McGoldrick for McGrellis (44 mins), A Rafferty for Ward (temp., 53 mins), Ward for Rafferty (63 mins)
Referee: P Ahern (Carlow)
New York 1-09 Down 1-19, Gaelic Park, .8.30pm (Irish time)
Scorers: New York: B Kennedy 1-02, V Norton 0-03, D Simms 0-02, T Moylan, S Quire 0-01 each
Down: P Braniff 0-05, M Coulter 1-04, B McGourty 0-03, G McGrattan, M Braniff, G Adair 0-02 each, S Wilson 0-01
HT: New York 1-03 Down 0-13
New York: K Jordan; A Kiely, P Dalton, P Wickham; S Quire, J Madden, T O’Callaghan; A Guinan, S Nolan; B Kennedy, V Norton, T Fletcher; D Simms, T Moylan, D McCarthy.
Subs: T Maher for Madden (temp., 32 mins), Madden for Maher (51 mins), M Maher for Simms (52 mins), D Loughnane for Fletcher (57 mins), M Barron for Nolan (62 mins), C Ruth for Guinan (65 mins)
Down: G Clarke; L Clarke, S Murray, E Dorrian; S Wilson, G Savage, G Clarke; A Savage, G Adair; G McGrattan, P Braniff, B McGourty; M Coulter, G Johnson, M Braniff.
Sub: D McCusker for P Braniff (64 mins)
Referee: P Horan (Offaly)