Stephen C Ryan Byrne/INPHO

I don't expect Stephen Cluxton to play for Dublin next week: Whelan

There are still doubts over the veteran goalkeeper’s inter-county future ahead of championship.

CIARÁN WHELAN DOES not think Stephen Cluxton will be playing in Dublin’s Leinster SFC opener next weekend and says his return to the panel for the 2021 season is “still of concern.”

Dublin star Ciarán Kilkenny said the veteran goalkeeper had returned to training last week and indicated that their All-Ireland-winning captain was on a “return to play list.”

Kilkenny was speaking after a period of doubt regarding Cluxton’s inter-county future, with former Mayo player David Brady saying on OTB AM that he believes the Parnell’s clubman has effectively retired.

Cluxton played a league match for his club over the weekend, something which suggests to Whelan that he may not be involved with Dublin when they take on Wexford in the Leinster SFC quarter-final on Sunday.

“I know the reports during the week indicated that he was back in the panel but I think Ciarán Kilkenny was quite shrewd in saying he was on the list of players to return,” he said on the Sunday Game.

“So, there still are question marks out there whether he has actually returned to training.

“And you would envisage with championship next week [that] if he was part of the plans, that he wouldn’t be playing with his club for a league game. It’s still is of concern whether he has walked through that dressing-room door yet, so, time will tell. There’s only a week to go until championship.”

Evan Comerford is currently the first-choice goalkeeper for Dublin and Cluxton’s absence could pave the way for Comerford to continue holding onto the number one jersey.

When asked if he thought Cluxton would be named to start next weekend, Whelan replied:

“I don’t expect him to play next week. That’s being honest, and I do hope I’m wrong and I hope he returns in the next few weeks.”

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