Hurling and camogie

Antrim boss Darren Gleeson unsure what future holds

Darren Gleeson's Antrim bowed out of the All-Ireland Championship against Cork at Corrigan Park on Saturday. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Neil Loughran

ANTRIM boss Darren Gleeson plans to hold talks with the county board before making a decision on his future with the Saffrons.

Saturday’s All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final defeat to Cork brought a close to the Tipperary man’s third campaign at the helm, with Gleeson widely lauded for the job done in improving Antrim’s fortunes during that time.

Having guided the Saffrons to Division One of the National Hurling League - and the Joe McDonagh Cup - during a first year played largely against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, Antrim’s fortunes have continued to improve in the time between.

Top flight status in the League has been retained, while a second Joe McDonagh Cup triumph earlier this month ensured the county will compete in next year’s Leinster SHC.

However, with a young family to consider, 41-year-old Gleeson refused to be drawn on whether he would still be making the seven-hour round trip from his home in Portroe next year.

“This isn’t the time or the place for that reflection,” he said in the wake of Saturday’s 11 point defeat to the Rebels at Corrigan Park.

“Genuinely, I see what’s here in Antrim and there’s nothing that should stand in the way of that. It’ll take time, you have to see what the wishes of the county board and that are, I was given a three year tenure at the start so I’ll sit down and see what’s what.

“You always have to think about what’s at home as well. We’ve three young kids going to the field themselves…. it is nice to be there for those moments.

“We’ll see. We’ve a great set-up there and we’ll do everything in our power to keep it going forward.”

One man who would be keen to see the two-time All-Ireland winner remain in charge is Saffron stalwart Neil McManus, who insisted continuity is key to Antrim’s progression.

“It’s really important that there’s no chopping and changing because I can see massive development,” said the Cushendall man.

“It’s a massive commitment, nobody underestimates that. But he’s passionate about it, he’s full of energy every night he arrives, so there’s never an excuse for us not to be.”

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Hurling and camogie