Stephen Cluxton shows side few have seen and leaves no doubt about how he became the best 11 months ago

Stephen Cluxton shows side few have seen and leaves no doubt about how he became the best

A pain still echoes through Stephen Cluxton's voice.

He still thinks about it, you know.

"I knew at the time, with a man down - I knew Kerry needed a major to get back into it or to pip us," he says matter of factly.

His face drops. He's carried this cross a long time.

"Trying to keep a clean sheet was the main focus, to get us through. But in fairness, he has such quick feet..."

A sharp breath in. The story is told like a person opening up about one of their big life regrets. This one gnaws away at him.

"He dodged from right to left very quickly, I just didn't get enough time to shift my feet. He put it down left..."

He's talking about Killian Spillane's goal of course. One of the few that beat him this year and one that wouldn't have had even a catty commentator pointing fingers at the goalie. But Cluxton is different to the rest of them.

You could actually hear a pin drop at the convention centre as everyone present is drawn to this man's restlessness. You know by the expression on his face and the hurt in each word that it's genuine too.

Imagine what he was like on the Monday. He told us. He's telling much more here than he's ever told before. This is one of the GAA's most reserved, mystical characters and he's wide open now. Inside is a glimpse to beat all glimpses.

"Obviously the next day, we had the laptop out. Jim was actually holding the laptop while the three goalkeepers were just saying we should have done this or could have done that. We probably spent about two hours going over it and trying to replicate it, just so it wouldn't happen again..."

It didn't happen. Stephen Cluxton doesn't make the same mistake twice. Perfection is the goal. This man is consumed by it.

This was a breath of fresh air. A smile adorned his face for the rest of it. While Cluxton is usually understated, calm and conservative, he was quite the opposite here. Beaming and warm.

"You're thinking about the training sessions, the hard slogs..."

He talked about arriving for 7.00 training sessions two hours early. Talked about the aches, pains and his chances of coming back for one more. There's wit and there's humour. There's a respect commanded.

"A typical day this year would have been home from school at ten to 4. Leave for training at 20 to five, for training for seven. Get there at 5.00. Go out with my goalkeeping coach Josh who's here tonight, this is for you pal. Go out from six to seven, do our stuff. Back in for a team meeting and then start training with the team.

“I don't know. You'll do anything to play, the mind the same thing but it's probably the body. I’ll have to sit down with the physios and the doctor and see if my body can get through another year..."

Whether he does or doesn't, this man's legacy remains the same. Some character.