Tipperary cruise through to U-21 hurling final

All-Ireland U-21 HC semi-final

All-Ireland U-21 HC semi-final

Tipperary 2-32 Antrim 1-7, Tullamore

Tipperary registered 15 wides but it mattered little as they easily saw off the challenge of Antrim in the first of today's Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship semi-finals at O'Connor Park in Tullamore.

Corner forward John O'Dwyer was the star of the show, bagging a goal in either half as Tipperary advanced to the showpiece final on September 11.

Antrim boss Dinny Cahill got not change from his native county who dominated throughout, with O'Dwyer's first goal setting Tipperary on their way.

O'Dwyer's spectacular first came in the second quarter, and Tipp pushed into a 1-11 to 0-0 lead before Thomas McCann eventually opened the Saffrons' account in the 26th minute.

The centre-forward's point was a well-taken score but Tipp continued to dominate up to half-time. Scores arrived from all sectors for the Munster champions, indeed nine players were on target for the Premier County side in the opening half.

Brian O'Meara, Patrick and Brendan Maher and O'Dwyer claimed points to power Tipp towards a 1-18 to 0-1 interval lead.

Tipperary manager Ken Hogan could afford to call senior star Noel McGrath ashore at the break. The midfielder had contributed six points during the opening half hour, and was replaced by Adrian Ryan for the second half.

Tipperary were hungry for goals and although Cormac Donnelly denied John O'Neill, and Antrim goalkeeper Eoin Gillan blocked John O'Dwyer on the rebound in the 47th minute, a second goal came quickly for Hogan's youngsters.

O'Dwyer sent Tipp into a 2-25 to 0-4 lead with a superb 48th minute ground strike, after Michael Heffernan had played the ball in from the corner.

Antrim quickly made amends, with Michael Armstrong doubling on a speculative PJ O'Connell shot, 30 seconds later, for the Ulster side's only goal.

Defender James Campbell and Armstrong (0-2) adding points late on, but Tipp were not going to be reeled in and they comfortably cruised to a 28-point win.

For Antrim, it is another crushing blow as their wait for a first ever All-Ireland final appearance at this age grade continues.

Scorers: Tipperary: J O'Dwyer 2-3, N McGrath (0-2f, 0-2 '65'), M Heffernan 0-6 each, S Carey 0-4, B O'Meara, K Morris 0-3 each, Padraic Maher, B Maher, S Hennessy (0-1f), Patrick Maher, P Murphy, J O'Neill, A Ryan 0-1 each.

Antrim: M Armstrong 1-2, T McCann 0-2, J Campbell, C Carson, D Hamill 0-1 each

TIPPERARY: J Logue; K O'Gorman, J Coghlan, M Cahill; J Barry, Padraig Maher, B Maher; S Hennessy, N McGrath; S Carey, P Murphy, Patrick Maher; M Heffernan, B O'Meara, J O'Dwyer.

Subs used: A Ryan for N McGrath, K Morris for Patrick Maher (both half-time), C Hough for B Maher (39 mins), J O'Neill for Hennessy (41), A Ryan for Carey (49), C Coughlan for O'Gorman (50).

ANTRIM: E Gillan; K Molloy, C Donnelly, S Shannon; L McAuley, M Donnelly, J Campbell; PJ O'Connell, E Laverty; M Devlin, T McCann, C Rocks; M Armstrong, C Carson, D Hamill.

Subs used: G Laverty for McCann (12-13 mins, temp), M Burke for McAuley (39), G Laverty for Rocks (49), N Cunningham for C Donnelly (52), M Lynch for O'Connell (59).

Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly)

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