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Farrell: 'Ultimately that decision whether Stephen Cluxton plays for Dublin again rests with him'

Dessie Farrell was speaking after Dublin’s Leinster semi-final win over Meath.

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell.
Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

DESSIE FARRELL SAYS the ball remains in Stephen Cluxton’s court over his Dublin future while there has been ‘no development’ on the situation over the past couple of weeks.

Dublin were unconvincing in their win over Meath in today’s Leinster SFC semi-final, where Evan Comerford once again wore the number one jersey with Michael Shiel his deputy on the bench. 

Two weeks ago after the win over Wexford, Farrell revealed the eight-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper had ‘stepped away’ from the panel but hadn’t retired.

Confirming he still hasn’t been informed if Cluxton intends on rejoining the panel, Farrell said: “No, no development. It’s still as was. As I said at the time, ultimately the decision for what happens next rests with Stephen.

“You know him better than I do in many regards. We’re going to give him the time that he needs to make that decision and it’ll be Stephen that determines what the future holds for him.”

After it was put to Farrell that it was getting late in the season for a player to rejoin the squad, he responded: “That’s for sure. But lookit, who knows? It’s happened in the past. Who’s to say that it wouldn’t happen again in the future.

“But as I say, ultimately that decision whether Stephen plays for Dublin again rests with him.” 

He added that Kevin McManamon remains part of his plans despite his current commitments at the Tokyo Olympics with the Irish boxers. 

“That’s the nature with work commitments. These are amateur players at the end of the day and they’re not contracted to play for their county. Work and career is really, really important.

“It has been all along to Dublin football managers and management teams over the last period and continues to remain that way.”

Eoin Murchan, John Small and Robbie McDaid are in the frame to return for the Leinster final against Kildare, although the Na Fianna man was tight-lipped on whether any of that trio may actually take part in the decider.

the-dublin-team-pay-tribute-to-u20-monaghan-captain-brendan-og-duffy The Dublin team pay tribute to the late U20 Monaghan captain Brendán Óg Duffy. Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

He found it hard to put his finger on where it went wrong for Dublin after losing the second-half to the Royals by 1-7 to 0-5.

The Dubs were in good shape at the interval, leading by 2-11 to 0-6, when a vastly improved Meath performance created a real game of it until the winners iced the game with three stoppage-time three scores.

The 2-16 to 1-13 win was Dublin’s lowest winning margin in Leinster since 2012 when they lost by three points to Meath.

“A lot of pleasing aspects in the first half,” reflected Farrell. “A lot of displeasing aspects in the second half. Plenty of food for thought in that second half performance for sure.

“Was it a little bit of complacent or did we just take our foot off the gas?” he asked.

“We expected Meath to come at us hard. We knew they would so that was no surprise. We still found it difficult to deal with, even though we knew that it was coming.

“But you know, late in the game, when it was very much in the melting pot, the calmness ort of prevailed and the experience of the core group won out the day in the end. We finished reasonably and managed the last couple of minutes quite well, but probably should never have been in that position in the first instance.”

There were still enough positives from their clinical first-half display and the nerveless manner by which they closed the game out to please their manager, but he knows there’s plenty of work to do.

david-byrne Dublin's David Byrne takes the ball forward. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Dublin were below their best against Wexford in the Leinster quarter-final and today’s poor second-half showing will give hope to their fellow All-Ireland contenders.

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“We sort of stuttered our way through the first one (against Wexford) Second one today, the prep was good, the focus was good. I think that manifested itself in the first-half performance.

“But the second half, without having to say anything myself, the management team or the coaches, the boys will be very disappointed with that themselves, and they’ll know it’s not the standard that’s expected.

“And they’ll know they can’t afford another day like that because as you move on in this competition the opposition get better and better and they’ll publish a period like that for sure.

“I’d say more disappointed that, you know, we set a standard for ourselves and that second-half performance fell short of that.

“I think overall a sense of disappointment with how we performed and it’s easy to be sort of negative around that but the irony of it is, if we gave the first-half performance in the second-half, and vice versa, we’d be in a happier place at the end of the game.

“Unfortunately games aren’t played in halves. It’s the overall that counts and what’s on the scoreboard at the end of 75 minutes, or whatever. And you just have to be more consistent throughout and that’s something that we’re working on.

“I wouldn’t be concerned that it’s any specific problem. I think I’d just bring it back to the idea of what we expect of ourselves and that that falls short.

“Look, we have a Leinster final to look forward to and unquestionably we’d be looking to address some of what went wrong for us in that second-half and definitely bring all the good things that we did in the first-half with us and as I say try to strive for that consistency across quarters and I think that will help us.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Croke Park

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