Stephen Cluxton back training with Dublin, says Kilkenny

Rumours of the goalkeeper’s retirement appear to have been greatly exaggerated

Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup as Dublin are crowned All-Ireland champions last year. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire Cup as Dublin are crowned All-Ireland champions last year. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Ciarán Kilkenny appears to have put to bed any rumours that Stephen Cluxton has retired from intercounty football by saying that the Dublin goalkeeper is back training with the panel ahead of this year’s championship.

Cluxton had not been seen with Dublin since last November’s All-Ireland final and rumours had been swirling that the 39-year-old had quietly called time on his career with former Mayo player David Brady intimating earlier in the week that he had heard as much.

However, with Dublin’s Leinster SFC opener away to either Wicklow or Wexford coming up in 10 days’ time, Kilkenny said on Wednesday that a number of players have rejoined the panel for training.

“Yeah, he is,” said Kilkenny, when asked if Cluxton had returned. “Look, there’s a lot of guys that are on the return-to-play list as well and that’s the exciting piece, that these guys are coming back in and a lot of other guys are really competitive at the moment and have put their hands up for places.

“So, it’s great to have that strength in depth and that’s going to be highly important,” he continued. “We’re firmly focused on next week’s game but if you’re fortunate to get past that, it’s going to be really important that every team has a strong panel. And having been away from playing games for so long, for four/five months, it puts everyone at risk to injury so you just have to be mindful of your recovery and keeping your body as fit and healthy as possible.

Kilkenny also said that Cian O’Sullivan and Kevin McManamon - who had also been tipped to potentially step away - still have big roles to play while Dean Rock, who didn’t feature in any of Dublin’s league games due to injury, is returning to fitness.

“Of course they (O’Sullivan and McManamon) are (still involved), fantastic footballers and the experience they bring to the group as well is huge. They are having a massive influence on the group.

“Dean’s in great shape, he’s another lad that has been on the return to play list and he’s looking really good and we’re looking forward to getting him back in. I think he’s close to getting back now so looking forward to seeing him.”

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