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Round two -- Dunne piles in as McAteer hits out at Cluxton

SECONDS out -- Round Two. With Stephen Cluxton's left hook still ringing in his ears, Jason McAteer has caught Cluxton with a sucker punch by claiming the goalkeeper lost Dublin an All Ireland.

But before McAteer can dive for cover, Bernard Dunne has rushed in with a cheeky shot, describing the former Spice Boy as "less than charitable".

Former Liverpool and Ireland star McAteer was punched by Dublin goalkeeper Cluxton during the game at the weekend, with both men being sent off.

But former boxing world champ Dunne has placed at least some of the blame on McAteer, saying the footballer's "behaviour and attitude was less than 'charitable' throughout".

He added that he believes the confrontation was "out of character by both men, to be honest".

Dunne insisted he has "no problem with Jason".

"I was one of a number of people who intervened," he told his fans on Twitter, adding he agreed that Cluxton should not have hit the former 'Spice Boy'.

McAteer said Cluxton should apologise to the organisers of the match -- in aid of Autism Ireland -- for throwing the punch.

Cluxton had lined out for Darndale FC, while McAteer was playing for Liverpool/Man United Legends in the game in Morton Stadium in Santry, north Dublin on Sunday.



proud

McAteer said on Newstalk's Off The Ball that a "bit of competitiveness" was normal at a charity game but not a punch-up.

He apologised for his part in the incident, though he expressed disappointment at comments by Dunne in which the boxer said he would have been proud of the blow.

"I am so disappointed and I would like to say sorry to the organisers who went to the effort of organising this charity game," he said.

McAteer said the incident was nothing more than "handbags", adding that the goalkeeper had a "history of getting sent off".

He told the programme's listeners that Cluxton probably cost Dublin an All Ireland for getting sent off in a 2003 match.

Cluxton was dismissed against then-defending All Ireland champions Armagh following an incident with Steven McDonnell in an All Ireland qualifier.

Then manager Tommy Lyons blamed Cluxton for Dublin's defeat.

"I just feel it was a stupid thing he did," McAteer said.

The punch came "out of the blue" and was disappointing, he added.

A large crowd of 2,500 witnessed the incident during the charity game.

Sparks flew during the second half when Cluxton was fouled by McAteer as the goalkeeper dispossessed the soccer ace.

comurphy@herald.ie


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