Darren Gleeson has been reinstalled as Antrim’s senior hurling manager on a two-year term, with an option for a third year.
The former Tipperary goalkeeper first took charge of Antrim’s hurlers in 2020 and led them to the Allianz Leagues Division 2A title and to a Joe McDonagh Cup triumph in his first year in charge.
Antrim have managed to retain their top flight status in the league since then, albeit only just after winning a relegation play-off against Offaly in March, while they will be back in the Leinster Championship next year after winning the Joe McDonagh Cup again.
Gleeson’s efforts in the past three years have convinced the Antrim County Board to hand the Tipperary man another term in charge, complimenting him on the “fantastic strides” taken in his current term.
Antrim County Board are delighted to announce that Darren Gleeson has been confirmed as our Senior Hurling Manager on a two year term with an option for a third year.
— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) August 4, 2022
The Saffrons aim to establish themselves in the top flight.
After a great first year under Gleeson, 2021 was less encouraging as Antrim lost to Dublin in a Leinster quarter-final before losing a preliminary All-Ireland quarter-final to Laois, which sent them back down to the Joe McDonagh Cup.
The Saffrons beat Kerry by a single point in this year’s Joe McDonagh Cup final in a high-scoring affair at Croke Park to regain entry to the Leinster Championship, where they will be hoping to spend more than one season.
Gleeson’s men then went on to give a decent account of themselves in their All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final against Cork, as the Rebels beat Antrim by 11 points.
Antrim will have more opportunities against top teams next year as the Leinster Championship has returned to a round-robin format, although avoiding the drop will likely come down to the game between themselves and Westmeath.
Westmeath impressed in this year’s Leinster Championship as they claimed an unlikely draw against Wexford before hammering Laois in a de facto relegation play-off, while they also earned promotion from Division 2A of the league.