Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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# Bad Boys
"Disappointed" McAteer calls on Cluxton to apologise for punch-up
LISTEN: Cluxton is no “hard man,” former Liverpool and Ireland footballer tells Newstalk’s Off The Ball.

IF ANYBODY THOUGHT that the punch-up between Stephen Cluxton and Jason McAteer was little more than a stunt to gain publicity for Autism Ireland, they might want to think again.

The Dublin goalkeeper and the former Irish international footballer came to blows on Sunday afternoon during a football match to benefit the charity at Morton Stadium in Dublin.

Reports have suggested that Cluxton, who was playing as part of a Darndale XI, took exception to persistent fouling by McAteer during the second half of the game, connecting with a left hook as the two came together following a late tackle.

Both players were subsequently sent off as the estimated crowd of 3,000 spectators tried to decide whether the incident they had just witnessed was in fact real.

Listen to Jason McAteer on Newstalk’s Off The Ball >

Speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball last night, McAteer apologised for his role in the altercation without giving any indication as to what had prompted the row.

“I am so disappointed and I would like to say sorry to the organisers who went to the effort of organising this charity game,” he said, calling on Cluxton to do likewise.

“He should show some humility and maybe apologise, rather than make out he is a hard man.”

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Although he described the incident as “handbags,” McAteer did suggest that his assailant had a history of bad behaviour, referring to the Dublin goalkeeper’s infamous sending-off against Armagh in the 2003 All-Ireland qualifiers.

We know Stephen has a history of getting sent off.

He was sent off in the infamous incident where he let a lot of people down in Dublin and it probably cost him an All-Ireland. I just feel it was a stupid thing he did.

Cluxton is yet to make any public comment on the matter, though his manager Pat Gilroy has suggested that the fracas should be allowed to blow over.

“We shouldn’t be losing sight of Autism Action,” the Irish Independent reports Gilroy as saying.  ”That’s the important thing.”

Read more on the McAteer-Cluxton incident in today’s Irish Independent >