Diarmuid Connolly BoyleSports Ambassador 2023 Picture BSI

Diarmuid Connolly Hails Cluxton As Genius & Greatest Keeper Ever

‘Genius’ and ‘best ever’. Those are the words used by Dublin legend Diarmuid Connolly to describe Dublin ‘keeper Stephen Cluxton.

Connolly, who is a BoyleSports Ambassador, has showered praise on his former teammate who was a crucial part of the 2023 All-Ireland winning Dublin team after his return to the panel this year.

Connolly also gave his verdict on the potential of a Dublin dynasty, David Clifford’s disappointing final and the impact of the showing of the All-Ireland Final on BBC television. You can read all of Connolly’s thoughts about those key talking points and much more below.

Dublin Dynasty?

The future does look bright for Dublin. But any team can beat any team on any given day. Mayo went down to Kerry and annihilated them down there, Galway have been really good and Derry beat Dublin in the league. Derry are a team that’s coming, with ten minutes to go in the semi-final, they were really on the ascendancy.

So there are five or six big teams in it and it’s not a forgone conclusion. But their mental resilience and their physical attributes are just unbelievable to watch. There’s no guarantee in sport at all, so they have to go and work. It’s down to the management, if they can galvanise themselves.

Looking at the squad, I know you have the older guys but there’s a lot of new faces in that dressing room and Colm Basquel was absolutely immense in the second half against Kerry. He’s becoming a real leader in that team.

They potentially could go on and win two or three more, but that’s all up to them. It’s about the work they put in off the field and their mindset leading into next year and the year following that.

Cluxton’s A Genius

People are talking about the three lads who have won the nine titles, whether they’ll stay on. To be honest I can’t see them not staying on.

James McCarthy had a quiet enough final, but he was still full of running last minute, making tackles and doing the hard graft. Michael Fitzsimons was probably man of the match for me, keeping David Clifford very quiet, even though Paul Mannion got it on the Sunday Game.

And Stephen Cluxton, he’s just a genius. He hasn’t put a foot wrong since he came back. He’ll probably be disappointed letting in a goal in the final and not finishing off the year with a clean sheet, but he had the first 45 of the game and absolutely nailed it – that was the impetus for Dublin.

People were questioning whether he should have come back to the panel. But it’s about organising his kick outs, organising opposition kick outs, organising his defence. He’s the leader of the team really. For me, Stephen Cluxton is the best goalkeeper that has ever played the game and we saw in the final at 41 years of age, he still can do it.

Clifford Will Bounce Back

For me, it’s about Michael Fitzsimons and the performance that he put in. The job he done for his 9th All-Ireland title, it was unbelievable stuff from him.

Sometimes that happens in finals. David Clifford is a young man, he’s leading that Kerry team and he has been for the last three or four years, so one bad performance isn’t going to tell me that David Clifford isn’t a good player.

UK Audience Welcomed

It’s a massive product. I’ve been out in America and I know lads have been out in China and the Far East and it’s all over the world, no matter where you go there’s a GAA community. It’s obviously huge, getting more eyeballs on it.

Everybody loves to see the national game being broadcast across the world. It was a great spectacle and the right team won!

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