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Ollie Bellew admits step up in class just too much for Glensmen against Waterford

U21 hurling: Waterford 5-25 Antrim 1-8

By Jackie Cahill

Ollie Bellew didn't suger-coat Antrim's dismal defeat against Waterford in Saturday's Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling semi-final.

12 months ago, the Saffrons played with two sweepers and kept the margin between themselves and Wexford to 12 points.

On Saturday, Waterford ran out massive 29-point winners to leave Bellew admitting that it was a defeat he saw coming.

The bookies offering 25 points on the handicap were cleaned out by brave punters as Waterford, without ever hitting top gear, left themselves just an hour away from a first All-Ireland success in this grade since 1992.

At half-time, Antrim trailed by 13 points, 0-6 to 3-10, and Waterford didn't let up on the resumption with the breeze at their backs.

Bellew, thrust into the Antrim role in June and with precious little time to prepare, did manage to secure Ulster glory, but this was a huge step up in class and the Glensmen suffered accordingly.

He said: "It's been a tough couple of years and that cements it - it tells us where we are and what needs to be done."

Waterford scorers: A Gleeson (0-2), Shane Bennett (0-1); Stephen Bennett (1-1), T Devine (1-2), M O'Brien (0-1); P Curran (2-7, 0-4f), DJ Foran (0-4), M Kearney (0-4, 1 sl). Subs: P Hogan (0-1) for Shane Bennett (16), A Farrell (0-1) for Roche (39), J Fagan (0-1) for Devine (44).

Antrim scorers: E McManus (1-0, o.g.); D McMullan (0-1), M Connolly (0-2, 1f), D Nugent (0-1), S McCaughan (1-4, 0-3f).

Referee: D Hughes (Carlow)

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