It wasn’t for a lack of trying that Antrim failed on their bow in the Leinster SHC as the old cliche rang true of “Goals win games”, with one in either half from David O’Callaghan and Alan McCrabbe paving the way for a 10-point win for Dublin at Croke Park.
Anthony Daly’s charges amassed 17-wides during this game; failed to score in the closing 11 minutes of the first half, and let Antrim in front in the opening stages; but experience and talent shone through for the Metropolitans as Antrim left Croke Park the vanquished.
Antrim’s scoring opportunities certainly weren’t limited as the Saffrons held the assistance of a stiff wind in the opening half.
Joint Saffrons managers Terence McNaughton and Dominic McKinley will be left wondering where it all went wrong with all of their forwards, defender Neil McAuley and midfielder Paddy Richmond all missing scoring opportunities before the interval.
Karl Stewart and Michael Herron both hit wides inside the opening two and a half minutes, before a Stewart pointed 65 edged Antrim in front.
However this was the only occasion which saw the Ulster side take the lead in this game, with Neil McManus missing a brace of goal opportunities, including a 17th minute penalty strike.
Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire was certainly an alert figure throughout this game, with midfielder John McCaffrey also providing strong support for his defence.
McManus eventually broke the duck in the 22nd minute with a point from play, but Dublin led by 1-05 to 0-02 at this stage.
The Metropolitans were alot more clinical in front of the posts at this stage with O’Callaghan netting a 14th minute goal.
The Ballyboden St. Enda’s clubman netted the score of the match as he caught the sliothar in-flight and made a bursting run from 45 metres out, before sending a piercing shot past Antrim keeper Ryan McGarry.
McCrabbe and Sean Delargy traded scores, before Antrim gained dominance in the scoring stakes hitting five further unanswered points before the interval to cut the gap to the minimum at half-time on a 1-06 to 0-08 scoreline.
Substitute Brendan Herron got the second half off to a positive note for Antrim, as he equalised with a score inside 40 seconds.
However Dublin blazed a trail with Dominic McKinley and Terence McNaughton’s charges left stunned by the Blues firepower.
O’Callaghan and McCrabbe were simply sublime in the second half, with David Curtin and Kevin Flynn also on target.
Antrim could only manage a point in the middle of a 30-minute dominant spell when Dublin bagged 1-10, with McCrabbe’s 66th minute goal sealing victory.
Although Karl McKeegan and substitute Joey Scullion managed late consolation scores for the Ulster side, Dublin had firmly booked their place in Leinster’s final-four.
Dublin – G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; S Hiney, M Carton, J Boland, J McCaffrey, A McCrabbe (1-9, 7f, 1 65); S Durkin, L Ryan, D Curtin (0-1, 1f); D O’Callaghan (1-3), L Rushe, D Treacy (0-2). Subs: K Flynn (0-1) for Rushe (Blood 32-34); K Flynn for Ryan (HT); S Lambert for Curtin (46); P Carton for Durkin (55)
Antrim – R McGarry; K McGourty, N McGarry, A Graffin; J Campbell, C Donnelly, N McAuley; P Richmond, K McKeegan (0-1); S Delargy (0-1), N McManus (0-1), M Herron (0-1), CJ McGourty (0-1), K Stewart (0-5, 3f, 1 65), PJ O’Connell. Subs: B Herron (0-1) for PJ O’Connell (32); J Scullion (0-1) for M Herron (50); P McGill for Delargy (61)
Ref – James McGrath (Westmeath)