Dublin’s captain fantastic Stephen Cluxton will incredibly start his 17th championship campaign on Saturday evening when he leads his team out onto the O’Moore Park playing surface to take on Carlow in the Leinster SFC quarter final.
The Parnell’s clubman is hailed as the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game and during his long and illustrious career he has revolutionised the art of goalkeeping.
Cluxton turned the goalkeeper position, one that for a long time wasn’t always seen as a crucial position, into a pivotal component of the team.
His pinpoint accurate and varied kick-outs and exploits as a key free taker, particularly in the 2011 All Ireland winning season spawned a host of copycat keepers in a number of counties.
His calm demeanor and down to earth personality made him the perfect choice as Dublin Captain and he has gone about his duties as the leader of men with dignity and class.
This class was very evident after Dublin lost this years league final and Cluxton made it his business to go and shake the hand and congratulate every single Kerry player on their victory.
Through his successful career Stephen has won a multitude of titles and awards which include a Minor Leinster title, an U21 Leinster title, an O’Byrne Cup, 4 National League Titles, 12 Leinster Senior titles and 4 All Ireland Senior titles. Cluxton has also won 5 All Star Awards and 2 GPA Gaelic Team Of the Year Awards.
Last years All Ireland victory seen Cluxton become only the third player ever to captain his team to three championship titles and he may make that four this season. Stephen also played in four International rules series winning two of them in 2004 and when he captained Ireland in 2011.
Dublin have always been blessed with brilliant keepers like Paddy Cullen, John O’Leary and Davey Byrne, but Cluxton has been the best of them all.
The word legend gets bandied around these days too easily, but when Cluxton finally hangs up his gloves history will look back on him, not just as a Dublin legend, but a legend of the game as a whole and one of the best players of all time.
For this season at least Dublin supporters can continue to marvel and enjoy Cluxton’s special skills and ability and hopefully by the end of the season he can join the three in a row club, which if it is to be his final season in blue, be a fitting end for the great man and his fabulous career.