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Cluxton opens up to downplay defining point

STEPHEN Cluxton has broken his wall of silence on his All-Ireland heroics - but only to downplay the significance of his dramatic contribution.

The Dublin netminder, notoriously shy in his public declarations, has spoken for the first time about the injury-time free which sealed Dublin's first All-Ireland title for 16 years for a new photographic account of the year, A Rare Auld Season, launched today by the Dublin squad and sports photography agency, Sportsile.

"You go through your routine, nothing else matters," said Cluxton of his nerveless kick. "One free is just as important as the next."

Cluxton also reckons Colm Cooper's first-half goal in the final was the "ideal time" to concede the score as Dublin had ample time to make amends over the course of the remainder of the game.

Asked if the strike "rocked" the Dubs momentarily, the Parnell's man responded: "Rocked? It didn't seem to me that it fazed anyone on the pitch. We went up the field and hit the next couple of points.

"The management worked hard on steeling the players throughout the year. Games last for 70-odd minutes, it happened at the ideal time.

"I treat all games equally," he added. "No one game is more important than any other. If we didn't treat the semi-final as important as the final, we wouldn't have been contesting the final.

"What Kerry did or didn't do cannot be thought about coming into a game."

On his much-vaunted kick-outs, Cluxton observed: "Kick-outs are not the sole responsibility of the goalkeeper; it involves the coordination of the defence and midfield to work."