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Stephen Cluxton back training with Dublin ahead of 21st championship campaign

There had been mounting speculation about the 39-year-old goalkeeper’s future.

Stephen Cluxton lifting the Sam Maguire Cup last December.
Stephen Cluxton lifting the Sam Maguire Cup last December.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

HE HASN’T WORN a Dublin jersey since last December’s All-Ireland final success but Stephen Cluxton is back training with the Sky Blues, according to Ciaran Kilkenny.

The news will reassure Dublin supporters in the wake of pundit David Brady’s claims yesterday morning that the 39-year-old goalkeeper has effectively retired without making any public announcement.

The man who has captained Dublin to six All-Ireland wins in-a-row missed all of the Allianz League and on the evening that they beat Donegal in the Division 1 semi-finals, was playing a club game for Parnells.

Stand-in manager Mick Galvin assured on that occasion that Cluxton would be back ‘as soon as we step back into Championship training’ though Brady was definitive with his comments.

“To my mind, I don’t see him being any part of the Dublin panel this year because, for all intents and purposes, the word on the street is that he’s retired,” stated Brady on Newstalk’s Off The Ball, adding that it’s ‘pure and utterly obvious’ that ‘something has happened’.

Kilkenny, however, had a different take on the situation and said that Cluxton is, in fact, involved in squad training ahead of Dublin’s Leinster SFC opener against Wicklow or Wexford on 4 July.

Asked if Cluxton is back, Kilkenny said: “Yeah, and look, there’s a lot of guys that are on the return-to-play list as well, and and a lot of other guys are really competitive at the moment in the group and put their hands up for places as well (in the league).”

Michael Shiel and Evan Comerford started two games each in the league. Asked again to confirm that Cluxton is actually training with the team now and in a position to regain his jersey, Kilkenny nodded.

“Yeah, and there’s numerous lads that are on the return-to-play list, yeah, he is (training),” said the All-Star forward.

Cluxton didn’t feature for Dublin last year until the league resumed in October, missing their first five games but started against Meath and Galway and remained ever present throughout their successful Championship campaign.

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Dean Rock hasn’t featured in 2021 either with an apparent back injury though Kilkenny said he too is faring well.

“Dean’s in great shape,” said the Castleknock man. “I think he’s close to getting back now so looking forward to seeing him.”

On veteran duo Cian O’Sullivan and Kevin McManamon, who didn’t play in the league but remain part of the panel, Kilkenny said they are having a ‘massive influence on the group’ behind the scenes.

Ballygowan and Energise Sport, part of Britvic Ireland, have renewed their partnership with Dublin GAA to remain as the official hydration partners of Dublin GAA in a new three-year deal. Ballygowan has relaunched the brand with the new ‘Bottled Wild’ campaign.

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Paul Keane

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