'All of a sudden, Dublin are coming back into the pack' - impact of Cluxton's absence

Marc Ó Sé gives his view on the goalkeeper stepping away from the Dublin squad on this week’s episode of The42 GAA Weekly.

Stephen Cluxton walks down the tunnel after lifting the Sam Maguire last December.
Stephen Cluxton walks down the tunnel after lifting the Sam Maguire last December.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE QUESTION OF Stephen Cluxton’s availability this season has created ‘uncertainty’ around the Dublin squad as they bid for a seventh All-Ireland title in-a-row.  

That was the view of Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé on this week’s episode of The42 GAA Weekly

After the Leinster quarter-final win over Wexford, Dublin manager Dessie Farrell said Cluxton had ‘stepped away’ from the panel and returned to his club. While confirming the goalkeeper hasn’t retired, Farrell was unsure if he’ll return to the Sky Blues set-up this season.

Ó Sé feels the lack of confirmation either way will only bring more unwanted questions for Farrell and his squad. 

“I genuinely think Dessie Farrell is probably in the dark,” he said. ”If you’re an inter-county manager so are going to demand to know what the story is with your player, regardless of who it is. 

“There’s huge uncertainty now. The big thing about this is that every time Dublin play in the championship, every time Dessie Farrell does an interview this is going to be hanging over him. He’s going to be asked about what’s the story with Stephen Cluxton. 

“The reality here is that Cluxton is entitled to walk away whenever he wants. Why? Because it’s an amateur game, he owes Dublin absolutely nothing. But from Dessie Farrell’s point of view, he should be seeking clarity.  

“If Stephen Cluxton wants to walk away and not do a statement, that’s well within his rights. But Dessie Farrell should be able to tell his players, particularly the six backs who work in front of him, he needs to be able to tell his goalie Evan Comerford that he’s now the number one goalie. 

“Dessie Farrell should be demanding from every player regardless of what they’ve achieved in the past, what’s your story?”

The prospect of the Parnell’s stopper appearing in this year’s championship gets more remote as each week passes, considering the All-Ireland final will take place in eight weeks.

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Dublin have lost several other experienced names recently, which gives hope to their rivals.  

“In the last few years you’ve lost Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn, Jack McCaffrey, Paul Mannion, Cian O’Sullivan, Michael Darragh Macualey, now Stephen Cluxton it appears is stepping away.

“All of a sudden to me, Dublin are coming back into the pack. There’s going to be a huge spotlight now on Evan Comerford the fact that he’s the main man and I think teams are going to zone in on that.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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