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Flynn Says Cluxton Return Not A Good Sign For Dublin GAA Future

Flynn Says Cluxton Return Not A Good Sign For Dublin GAA Future
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Paul Flynn believes Stephen Cluxton's comeback is a "net positive" for the Dublin panel, but also not a good sign for the county's medium-term All-Ireland prospects.

The 41-year-old goalkeeper, whose last game for Dublin had been the 2020 All-Ireland final, was a surprise inclusion for Sunday's victory over Louth at Croke Park in the final round of the league.

Flynn, who was a teammate of Cluxton for six All-Ireland wins, told the Second Captains podcast he felt "genuine initial shock" when told of the six-time All-Star's return. That was despite the two meeting for a meal not long ago.

'The medium-term outlook for Dublin isn't good'

"I met him recently for dinner, and he's in incredible shape," said Flynn, conjuring an image of the two doing a bleep test while having some tapas on the northside.


"He trains extremely hard and will fit back into training at that level no problem. I think he's still the best goalkeeper in the country.

paul flynn stephen cluxton dublin return

26 March 2023; Dublin substitute Stephen Cluxton before the Allianz Football League Division 2 match between Dublin and Louth at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

"This is a net positive. There are definitely elements of risk to bringing people back but I think they're low enough in relation to Stephen and the role he can play.

"David O'Hanlon has had a really solid league campaign. I'm not sure who's going to be number one and number two. You'd assume with bringing Stephen back, the intention is to play him.

"However, I can see a role for him in the background too. I don't think he's the type of character who will throw his toys out of the pram if he's not starting.


"Dublin have the pieces of the jigsaw, they just haven't been able to put it together, and I think he could really help with that. I just see it as being an overall positive. I get that he's 41, and has been gone for a number of years, but this guy keeps himself in tip-top shape."

Flynn believes Cluxton will fill a leadership void left by the retirement of Jonny Cooper, but that it is "very short-term thinking, which I am OK with".


"I've become comfortable with the fact that the medium-term outlook for Dublin isn't good," said Flynn.


"What they're really trying to do, from what I can see, is to squeeze as much as they can from the orange, and see if they can get one more All-Ireland.

"Is that long-term thinking? Is that positive thinking for the betterment of the county overall in the long run? I'm not sure.

paul flynn stephen cluxton dublin return

1 October 2016; Paul Flynn, left, and Stephen Cluxton of Dublin following their side's victory in the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done at county board level to remedy what's gone on over the last number of years. Teams are not competing at minor and U20 level. There's no influx of top calibre players coming through.

"[Brian] Howard and Con [O'Callaghan] were the last two key players that came into the mix. A few new guys over the last number of seasons but [not many] of that real ilk.


"Let's look at 2023, and can we win an All-Ireland, and can Stephen help with that? Yes. In the medium-term, is it good? Probably not. We're dealing with the here and now."

Flynn added that news of Cluxton's return not leaking from the group is a positive indicator.

"There was real admiration because over the last couple of seasons, I felt there was a lot of stuff leaking out, little things," he said.

"It was a sign that maybe things were slipping a little bit in relation to standards and that circle of trust. These things are important to build team cohesiveness.

"For this not to leak, it's so impressive because it's not an easy thing for someone to be training for a number of weeks, a lot of people knew, and all it takes is one slip and like wildfire, it's gone around WhatsApp groups. It's a sign of a group who are at one. It is a test."

See Also: Highlight Reel First Half Goals Power Cork Minors Past Waterford

paul flynn stephen cluxton dublin return



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