Dilemma for Cluxton as Parnells march on
Irish International Rules captain Stephen Cluxton faces a big dilemma this weekend after his club side Parnells beat St Sylvester's in the Dublin championship yesterday.
Parnells' victory after extra-time advanced them to a quarter-final clash with Ballymun Kickhams on Saturday afternoon in Parnell Park.
But the Irish team are due to fly out to Australia on Saturday, which has presented Cluxton with a decision on whether or not to remain behind with his clubmates or head Down Under.
As Cluxton may feel honour-bound to commit to the international cause, the fears in the northside club last night were that he may not be available to them this weekend.
But alternative flying arrangements are also being explored. The 2008 captain Sean Cavanagh travelled behind the main party because of a Tyrone county final.
Colm Begley, one of four players added to the international squad over the weekend by manager Anthony Tohill, is also a Parnells player, but it appears that he is committed to playing with the club as long as they remain in the Dublin championship.
One player who will have to be replaced, however, is Darran O'Sullivan whose Mid-Kerry team are into a county final on October 30.
Kerry chairman Jerome Conway confirmed yesterday that the final will go ahead on that date, despite O'Sullivan's Rules involvement.
He had been hoping that the final against Colm Cooper's Dr Crokes may be brought forward by a week.
Mid-Kerry beat East Kerry in the semi-finals by 1-12 to 1-7 on Saturday and O'Sullivan says his loyalties will be with the divisional side, whose county final success in 2008 allowed him to successfully captain Kerry to an All-Ireland success 12 months later.
Tohill also added Zac Tuohy, currently contracted to AFL club Carlton, Carlow's Brendan Murphy and Kildare's Eamonn Callaghan to the squad over the weekend.
There is still one more vacancy, but with O'Sullivan now gone and a doubt over Begley and possibly Cluxton, there is more tweaking to be done.
In Dublin, there was a huge shock on Saturday night when reigning title-holders and Leinster champions Kilmacud Crokes were dumped out of the last eight by St Brigid's.
The result was a measure of revenge for St Brigid's, who lost last year final to Crokes by seven points.
St Brigid's had goalkeeper Shane Supple to thank for keeping them in the game as he pulled off two brilliant saves to deny Mark Vaughan from close range and then Barry O'Rourke.
Former Dublin footballer Paddy Andrews, Ken Darcy and Mark Cahill gradually hauled St Brigid's back into it and their 0-9 to 0-8 victory sets up a date with Ballyboden St Enda's who easily beat St Peregrine's.
Elsewhere, Stephen Darby is the latest candidate to withdraw from the process to become the next Offaly football manager.
Darby, who managed Carbury in last week's Kildare final, follows Tom Coffey who pulled out last week because of the delay over making an appointment.