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Antrim U21 boss Bellew admits taking over seniors would be an honour

By Declan Bogue

One of the frontrunners for the Antrim senior hurling manager's job has admitted it would be an "honour" to lead his county. Ollie Bellew is at the helm for the county's Under-21 side in this weekend's All-Ireland semi-final against hotly-fancied Waterford, but his name could form part of the management ticket the Antrim executive are preparing to unveil at their meeting next Monday night.

"Like any hurling man, it would be a great honour for your family and your club and something I would think about," Bellew told the Belfast Telegraph.

He guided his own club, St Gall's, to their only senior Championship final in 2014, when they lost to Ruairi Óg Cushendall, and since then has put in an impressive shift as manager of University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

While Gary O'Kane remains the favourite for the main job, there is a body of opinion that Bellew could go in as a selector.

Ahead of that Under-21 semi-final in Thurles tomorrow, Bellew - who only took up the role in June after the appointment of an interim senior management - is hopeful for the future of Saffrons hurling, having worked with the upcoming generation.

"I have a lot of faith in the young players we have in the county," he said.

"I look at some of the boys like Eamon McMullan, Paddy Burke and Ryan McCambridge for example, and they are as good a hurler as we have anywhere."

He added: "If a manager was prepared to come in and work with our younger players, the board and the supporters would probably give him a good couple of years to have a decent go at making something happen.

"There is definitely potential there within the county but we need to tap into the younger players."

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