JACK CANNING PROVED a chip off the old block at Kingspan Breffni Park as Galway cruised through to the last four of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor hurling semi-finals.
The towering Portumna attacker, a nephew of senior ace Joe, showed his class with three early points to set the All-Ireland holders on their way to a facile 20-point quarter-final victory.
He also played in the ball for Cian Salmon to strike Galway’s first goal in the 30th minute, helping the westerners to a 13-point half-time lead while Evan Niland, who scored 0-9 in last September’s final win, weighed in with 1-7 overall.
Jeffrey Lynskey’s side could afford to drop down to third gear after the break and will find out tomorrow if it’s Dublin or Tipperary that they face in next month’s semi-finals at Croke Park.
Galway have no provincial championship to compete in so their opening game is always laced with danger and they struggled for a period to dispatch Antrim when the sides last met at the same venue in 2014.
But they were always in control this time against a Saffrons side that deployed wing-forward Donal McKernan as a seventh defender for the first-half before abandoning that strategy when trailing 1-14 to 0-4 at the break.
Antrim only managed one point from play in the entire second-half though as they went for goals on a number of occasions.
Niland picked off three second-half points from frees for Galway before hitting their second goal in the 56th minute when he soloed through the middle and dispatched a low shot to the Antrim net.
Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 1-7 (0-4f), Jack Coyne 0-5 (0-1f, 1 65), Cian Salmon 1-1, Jack Canning 0-3, Ronan Murphy, Cianan Fahy, Ross Malone, Kevin Cooney, Enda Fahy, Martin McManus 0-1 each.
Scorers for Antrim: Conal Doherty Cunning 0-5 (0-4f), Diarmaid McShane, Donal McKernan (0-1f), Keelan Molloy 0-1 each.
1. Jack Forde (Liam Mellows)
2. Stephen Molloy (Kilnadeema-Leitrim)
3. Jack Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly)
4. Ronan O’Neill (Padraig Pearses)
7. Patrick Foley (Clarinbridge)
6. Cianan Fahy (Ardrahan)
5. Ian O’Shea (Athenry)
8. Jack Coyne (Castlegar)
9. Ross Malone (Oranmore Maree)
14. Cian Salmon (Clarinbridge)
11. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge)
12. Liam Forde (Ardrahan)
13. Kevin Cooney (Sarsfields)
10. Jack Canning (Portumna)
15. Ronan Murphy (Tommy Larkins)
17. Enda Fahy (Kilbeacanty) for Murphy (39)
19. Conor Caulfield (Kilconieron) for O’Neill (51)
20. Martin McManus (Loughrea) for Forde (51)
22. Oisin Connolly (Castlegar) for Cooney (54)
23. Donal Mannion (Cappataggle) for Niland (55)
1. Paddy Carlin (Naomh Eoin)
17. Ed McQuillan (Ruairi Og)
3. Liam Gillan (Ruairi Og)
4. Conor Carson (Naomh Eoin)
7. Eamonn Smyth (Cuchullains)
6. Conor Boyd (MacUilin)
5. Shane Magill (Shane Ui Neill)
8. Daniel Black (Shane Ui Neill)
9. Keelan Molloy (Cuchullains)
10. Peter McCallin (Naomh Eoin)
11. Geoffrey Og Laverty (Cloiche An Mhuillin)
13. Diarmaid McShane (MacUilin)
12. Donal McKernan (Padraig Sarseil)
14. Conal Doherty Cunning (Cuchullains)
15. Eoin O’Neill (Cuchullains)
21. Emmett Laverty (Ruairi Og) for Black (h/t)
2. Conor Kinsella (Cuchullains) for Magill (37)
18. Cathal McDonnell (Ruairi Og) for Laverty (54)
20. Shane O’Connor (Oisins) for McQuillan (54)
19. Shea Shannon (Naomh Eoin) for McKernan (55)
Referee: Gearoid McGrath (Wexford).