Stephen Cluxton is back
Stephen Cluxton warmed up with the Dublin footballers ahead of their Round Seven Allianz National Football League group game against Louth.
He hadn't been named on the panel, but along with Paddy Small and Paul Mannion, was announced over the Croke Park PA as a late replacement on the subs bench.
It comes as a huge surprise when you consider that the 41-year-old hasn't played for Dublin since they won the 2020 All-Ireland final against Mayo.
He was absent from their panel 2021 and 2022, which led to speculation that he had retired. Manager Dessie Farrell appeared to confirm as much in early 2022 when, after an O'Byrne Cup game with Offaly, he said that Cluxton wouldn't be returning to the Dublin panel for the League or Championship.
“Stephen won’t be involved this year, he wasn’t involved last year,” Farrell said at the time.
“Stephen’s not one for big announcements as you know.
“There’ll be no fanfare or official announcements from him, but he won’t be involved this year.
“Out of respect to him, we need to let him live his life, and we need to do our own thing, so we know the position and hopefully everyone else knows it at this stage as well.”
But just out of left field, and just like that, the Parnells club-man is back. In an age of speculation and an active rumour-mill, it says a lot about the tightness of the Dublin panel that there wasn't a peep of his return in the last week. No loose lips there.
The aura around this mystery man continues, but he's back in the spotlight now, running out with the Dublin team as you'll see in the video below.
Gasps of shock were heard around Croke Park as he was announced on the PA, and he was then shown warming up by the Hill 16 end on TG4 - much to the delight of Dublin fans.
A few familiar faces back in the panel today 👀👕#UpTheDubs pic.twitter.com/w3nHj7qS71
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) March 26, 2023