Kilkenny proved too strong for Antrim in the second round of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship on Saturday afternoon as they ran out comfortable winners in Abbotstown.
The result means a victory over Galway on Friday evening will see the Cats top their group and advance to the semi-final.
In much the same vein as last weekend’s dispatching of Laois, it was a slow start from Niall Bergin’s side as a well-taken free and a clinical finish past goalkeeper Billy O’Sullivan gave the Saffrons an early lead.
That was the high point of the game for the Ulster men as Kilkenny took control of the encounter in familiar fashion.
A free and a point from play from corner-forward Conor Doyle was the perfect response before another free from the Windgap man and a score from Ed Lauhoff brought the sides level midway through the first half, Kilkenny 0-04 to 1-01 Antrim.
Lauhoff and Greg Kelly combined to torment their opponents with some superb points and Doyle and Brian Moore took advantage of sloppy Antrim defending to make it 0-11 to 1-02 at the interval.
It was the same names that put Antrim to the sword in the third quarter as Moore (2), Lauhoff and Doyle continued to pick them off with eye-catching pieces of play getting the finishes they deserved.
To their credit, Antrim refused to give in and scores from Orrin O’Connor (3) and Liam Glackin reduced the deficit.
It did not inspire a comeback, however.
Angered by a brief period of slackness, two points from O’Loughlin Gaels forward Kelly and Dicksboro clubman Moore came either side of a brilliant goal from Doyle to seal the game.
James Stephens’ Bill McDermott grabbed a second goal for a minor team who are going in search of a first All-Ireland title in nine years and while both sides exchanged points towards the end of a largely one-sided affair, Kilkenny set-up a mouth-watering tie with Galway next week.
That game will throw-in at 5pm in UPMC Nowlan Park on Friday, April 7th.
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