Dublin confirm Cluxton staying on for 20th season and Connolly also to return

Dessie Farrell has revealed that the star goalkeeper is staying on.

Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire
Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

NEW DUBLIN MANAGER Dessie Farrell has confirmed that he will be able to call on All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton for the 2020 season.

Farrell revealed this morning at a press conference that the star goalkeeper has “indicated he’s very keen to stay involved” with the champions this year.

The 2019 Footballer of the Year, who has been central to Dublin’s run of success over the past decade, is currently rehabbing after shoulder surgery and is expected to be back in action before the end of March.

“I’ve met with Stephen and he’s indicated that he’s very keen to stay involved,” said Farrell.

“A lot of you would be aware that he’s just after going through some surgery on his shoulder there, so that’s going to take some time to recover and he needs the time to rehab that.

“There was a little bit more to do on it than he thought, but we’d hope to see him back on the field towards the end of March, I think.

“But he’s very keen and intent and staying involved and staking a claim.”

Farrell also revealed that attacker Diarmuid Connolly and midfielder Michael Darragh MacAuley will be available as well for the coming season which begins for Dublin tomorrow when they take on Longford in the O’Byrne Cup semi-final.

“No, they’re all involved, absolutely,” he said of the veterans in the squad.

“At the end of any season or the beginning of a new season, for senior players it’s always a concern at the best of times as to what role you’re going to have going forward and particularly when there’s a new management team in place.

“I know what that feels like, I came through seven different managers. So I can understand how some of those more senior players might feel about it and maybe that sense of uncertainty.

“But I think, in my view anyway, they’ve all been fantastic servants of Dublin football and under our watch they’re definitely going to get a chance to stake a claim and to impress the new management team.”

dessie-farrell-aigdublin-gaa-media-briefing New Dublin football manager Dessie Farrell was at AIG HQ today to help launch their New Year offer of 20% Off Car Insurance at Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

While the Na Fianna clubman said he’s “well down the road” to finalising his management team he was unwilling to make it public without informing the players first.

The 2019 Dublin squad and backroom team are set to return soon from their team holiday in Bali.

“I don’t mean to be awkward yet but with the lads being away and everything else, I’d prefer to fill them in first rather than sort of announce it in public, without letting them know.

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“So there’s a timing thing around this and obviously they’re back over the next couple of days and will be back training next weekend, so I hope to be able to address the lads on that basis next week.”

Speaking about the short turnaround following Gavin’s surprise design to step away in December, Farrell said: “Ideally you’d like some more time, and the season is upon us quite quickly.

“But anyway there’s nothing we can do about that at this stage.

“Obviously given the sudden nature of Jim’s resignation over Christmas and the team and backroom team being away on holidays, there’s still a few bits and pieces to put together.

“But we’re well down the road on it and I’m happy with where I’m at with it now, and obviously there are some big decisions to be made there that aren’t just going to impact on this season.

“But over the next couple of seasons, so I’m happy to take my time in making those decisions, but over the next few weeks we should have it finalised and it will be under constant review as ever.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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