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Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Antrim hurling manager Darren Gleeson.
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'It's not our first defeat' - Darren Gleeson promises Antrim will 'come again, don't worry'
Relegation is at stake as they face Laois on the weekend of 10/11 July.

AT THE END of his post-game media duties after the heavy loss to Dublin, Antrim boss Darren Gleeson made a promise to the assembled reporters.

“We’ll come again, don’t worry,” he stated.

The All-Ireland winning Tipperary goalkeeper oversaw Antrim’s ascent to the Liam MacCarthy Cup and they enjoyed several impressive performances during the Allianz Hurling League.

They’ll be hurting after Dublin’s easier than expected victory dumped them out of the Leinster championship on Saturday.

Talk of a potential Antrim ambush gained steam in recent weeks after they stunned Clare and pulled off a pulsating draw with Wexford.

The teams were level at 0-6 apiece after 16 minutes, but Dublin found themselves eight ahead by half-time and 18 clear by the final whistle.

“When was the last time Antrim played against that level of intensity in a championship setting?” asked Gleeson.

“They’ll learn from it. We’ve a game in two weeks’ time, let’s see what happens there. A win brings you back into the championship. So we have to learn from that and get back at it on Tuesday night.

“The learnings were there and it wasn’t from the want of planning for it, the execution just didn’t happen today for whatever reason. We’ll reflect and look at ourselves first as a management, coaching team and what we brought to the table.

“Then we’ll bring it to the players and ask the questions of them on Tuesday night and see how we can get back.”

They’ll meet ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett’s Laois in the All-Ireland qualifiers preliminary round the weekend after next. The winners will advance into round 1 of the qualifiers, while the losers will drop down to the Joe McDonagh Cup.

“It’s not our first defeat. It’s not my first defeat in anything. Teams get beaten. You get the opportunity to bounce back which is great.

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“Sometimes you have to wait 12 months for it. This time we only have to wait, what 14 days? So there’s nobody dead. It’s a massive learning day. Everyone thought, ‘Oh we’ll turn it on.’ But it doesn’t work like that.”

Asked if there were any positives Antrim could take from the Dublin game, Gleeson deadpanned: “Yeah, we have another game.”

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