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Philly McMahon Says Dublin Must Bring Back Another Retired Star After Cluxton Return

Philly McMahon Says Dublin Must Bring Back Another Retired Star After Cluxton Return
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Stephen Cluxton's return to the Dublin panel last weekend came as a massive shock.

While the legendary goalkeeper had never officially retired, he had not featured for the county since the 2020 All-Ireland final. The 2021 campaign was dominated by questions about his potential return, but having missed two full seasons, it was assumed that he had played his last game for the Dubs.

The return has received a mixed response.

While the vast majority of Dublin fans are delighted to see Cluxton return, many outside the county are wondering if the move smacks of desperation. It will certainly be interesting to see if he fills a backup role as Dessie Farrell suggested, although you'd think it was unlikely that the 41-year old would return to the fold just to sit on the bench.

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 year has seen a number of Dublin's all-conquering All-Ireland winning side come back into the panel. Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion, both of whom stepped away from the setup in recent years, have played a part in their league campaign.


However, both of those players differ from Cluxton in that they are 29-years old and should be in the midst of their prime.

Philly McMahon calls on Dublin to recall another retired player

Philly McMahon knows all three of those players well, having shared a dressing room with them for a decade or more in some cases.

While he has no intention of reversing his decision to retire from inter-county duties, he does believe that Dessie Farrell should look into bringing back one of his defensive partners.


Speaking on The Throw-In, the Ballymun Kickhams man said that Dublin should try to convince Jonny Cooper to come out of retirement in order to strengthen their defence. As well as that, he said that he expects Stephen Cluxton to start in the league final against Derry and continue in the position for this summer's championship.

There is a need for experience in front of the fullback line.

A big reason for Dublin's success over the years was having someone in front of the fullback line. Jonny Cooper stepped away ahead of this year. He is someone I would be head-hunting now. There is precedence there now.

Would you not say to him to come back and sit in front of the three boys in the fullback line? I would be worried in the rest of the country if Clucko comes back and Jonny Cooper comes back...

If my goal was to win an All-Ireland this year and not look at next year or the year after, Stephen Cluxton is playing against Derry for me.

It would be very harsh on David O'Hanlon to be taken out of the team and for Stephen to go straight back in but when else does Dessie get the chance? Changing the goalkeeper for the championship is a difficult thing to do.

Jonny Cooper retired at the end of last season, and considering he is only 33-years old, you'd imagine he would still have something to offer to Dublin if he decided to come back into the fold.

In saying that, depending on retired players to return to the panel in order improve results is rarely a recipe for long-term success.

SEE ALSO: Oisin McConville 'Frustrated' By Armagh Rumours About Rian O'Neill



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