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Former Dubs star thinks it 'unlikely' we'll see Stephen Cluxton this summer

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:24 5 Jul 2021

Paddy Andrews believes that the Stephen Cluxton situation is 'awkward' for Dessie Farrell and that it is unlikely Cluxton will feature in this summer's championship.

Farrell announced that Cluxton had 'stepped away' from panel selection, but that he had not retired from the game.

Paddy Andrews on Cluxton

"It's an awkward one for Dessie and the coaches because there's not much clarity around Stephen's timeframe. Stephen's nature means he is not going to come out in the media and explain his rationale for any decision.

"People are going to keep asking about it and it is going to be a story, particularly when we go into the game against Meath, Dessie will most certainly be asked about it.

"This Dublin team have been in this situation before; Diarmuid Connolly, Jack McCaffrey, Rory O'Carroll all took time out. Big players have moved on at different stages, Paul Mannion the most recent example.

"It is going to be a big miss for them this summer, particularly with the scheduling of the Championship, you'd think [a return] is unlikely. If the All Ireland final is 6-7 weeks away and Stephen isn't in the team, you'd say it's probably unlikely we'll see him again this summer."

Timing

Andrews believes that the timing is not ideal for the Dublin panel or coach.

"It is an awkward one, generally with players if they are stepping away or taking time to themselves it is usually done earlier in the season. Stephen has been there for 20 years, he has done phenomenal service and that is not in question.

"But the timing and structure of the Championship, the whole thing is finished in the next six or seven weeks. There's not really a window to make up your mind, you're either in or you're out.

"I don't think there's anything going on behind the scenes [...] but I just think that with the scheduling of the championship, it's probably unlikely for someone to come back in with only six or seven weeks to go.

"That is the thing that Dublin supporters, the players and Dessie want that clarity so they can focus on far greater challenges than what they faced in Wexford Park yesterday."

'Tricky' to come back this summer

"He has basically designed kick-out strategies for the last few years [so that wouldn't be a problem for him.] I think it would be a big decision for the coaches, Evan Comerford has deputised very ably for Stephen and is an excellent goalkeeper.

"That is a big call for a manager to make and comes back in the week before a championship match, to start him straight away. There is that thing for the wider group, you want everyone training and putting their shoulder to the wheel for the whole season.

"It's tricky for a guy to come back in and go straight back in."


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