Antrim were pushed all the way by Derry at Loughgiel tonight but captured their eighth successive provincial crown with a 0-16 to 1-9 victory.
Saul McCaughan was the match-winner for Ollie Bellew's charges, chipping in with a fine personal tally of 0-9, six of those scores coming during the last 18 minutes of the contest.
Cormac O'Doherty's goal meant that the Oak Leaf County - seeking their first title since 2008 - led by double scores at the interval, 1-5 to 0-4, and the visitors still held a four-point advantage eleven minutes into the second half after the first four points upon the resumption were shared, outstanding Slaughtneil clubman O'Doherty's fifth point making it 1-7 to 0-6.
However, the near-perennial champions then firen over ten of the last twelve points to capture the silverware for the 36th time. Substitute Cormac Ross levelled the scores in the 44th minute, 0-10 to 1-7, and further strikes from Maol Connolly, Alec Delargy, Christy McNaughton and the irrepressible McCaughan finally put an end to Derry's brave bid.
As well as being crowned provincial champions (captain Ruairi Diamond collected the trophy), Antrim progress to the All-Ireland series, where they will do battle with Munster champions Waterford on Saturday, August 20th, with Galway and Dublin meeting in the other semi-final on the same day.
Antrim - C Heyden; D McMullan, T Burns, R Diamond; G Walsh (0-1f), P Burke, J Maskey; R Gillen, A Delargy (0-1); M Connolly (0-3), D Nugent, J O'Connell; S McCaughan (0-9f), T Butler, R McKee. Subs: C Ross (0-1) for R Gillen, C McNaughton (0-1) for J O'Connell, E McManus for R Diamond, R Delargy for D Nugent.
Derry - S Cassidy; G Farren, P Turner, P McNeill; S McGuigan, M McGrath, R McCartney; E McGill, P Burke; T Magee, M McGuigan, D Foley (0-1); G McCormack (0-1), C O'Doherty (1-7, 0-6f), B Cassidy. Subs: S Quinn for T Magee, B Laverty for P Burke, D Carton for D Foley, T O'Kane for R McCartney.
Referee - A Ferguson.