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03rd Apr 2023

Pat Spillane goes in on Dublin’s decision to bring Stephen Cluxton back

Lee Costello

“I regard Cluxton’s return as a joke.”

Pat Spillane did not mince his words when sharing his opinion on Stephen Cluxton’s return to Dessie Farrell’s Dublin panel.

When word came out that Cluxton was on the bench against Louth in their Division Two promotion decider, the GAA world was shocked.

It’s as bizarre as it is polarising, as opinions are split on whether this was a good move by the management, or a costly mistake that makes them look a bit desperate.

Spillane Cluxton

On one hand, you have now got one of the greatest ever footballers back in your squad with all of the experience he brings, but on the other hand if you have to bring a 41-year-old retired player back into the fold, then you’re maybe not in a great place.

Spillane was pretty clear on which side of the argument he was on in his Sunday World column.

“I imagine I wasn’t alone in thinking it was April Fool’s Day when news filtered through from Croke Park last Sunday that Stephen Cluxton was in the Dublin squad.

Spillane Cluxton

“I know he is a superb leader and goalkeepers can operate well into their 40s these days. I know, too, this could be the most open All-Ireland Championship since 2010. So, it’s all about marginal gains.

“But I don’t see why Cluxton couldn’t just be added to the management team, where his expertise would be invaluable.

“Why embarrass the current goalkeepers Shane O’Hanlon and Evan Comerford – even if the latter is injured – by suddenly parachuting Cluxton back into the squad.

Spillane Cluxton

“And what kind of message is his return sending out to all the young goalkeepers who dream of making it into the Dublin squad?

“This could come back to haunt me before the end of the summer, but right now I regard Cluxton’s return as a joke.”

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