Friday 19 April 2019

Stephen Cluxton to join legend as most 'capped' Dub in Saturday's Omagh battle with Tyrone

Cluxton will equal Dublin’s league and championship appearances record. Photo: Sportsfile
Cluxton will equal Dublin’s league and championship appearances record. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Stephen Cluxton will join fellow goalkeeper John O'Leary as Dublin's most 'capped' player in Saturday's clash with Tyrone.

He is currently on 196 appearances in league and championship, one behind O'Leary.

Parnells man Cluxton is well ahead on championship appearances, having played 94 games. O'Leary played 70 times in a career which ran from 1980 to 1997. The O'Dwyers man also played 127 NFL games, with Cluxton currently on 102.

O'Leary retired at age of 36 after Dublin were beaten by Meath in the 1997 Leinster quarter-final.

Cluxton, who made his championship debut in 2001, will be 37 in December but has given no indication that he intends to retire.

If Dublin reach this year's All-Ireland final and Cluxton plays in all their remaining matches, he will reach the 200-appearance mark on the day Jim Gavin's men attempt to become the first team to win the four-in-a-row since Kerry in 1978-81.

That would be quite a double milestone for Cluxton, who missed his first championship game since 2004 against Laois in this year's Leinster final when he was ruled out with an injury.

Dublin have already set a record for the longest unbeaten championship run in GAA history, having avoided defeat since 2014 when they lost to Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final.

They have, since then, won 22 and drawn two (both against Mayo) of 24 games. It takes them ahead of Wexford, who won the All-Ireland four-in-a-row in 1914-18, during which they had 20 wins, one draw and one walkover.

Kerry won four-timers with 15 wins in 1978-81 and 14 wins in 1929-32. Mick O'Dwyer's great team extended their unbeaten run to 19 games in the 1982 championship, before losing the final to Offaly.

Kerry won three of the four All-Irelands with four games per championship while they had only three outings in 1980, beating Cork in the Munster final, Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final and Roscommon in the final.

They were granted a bye into the Munster final that year, arising from their 9-21 to 1-9 win over Clare in Milltown-Malbay 1979. The Munster Council decided it was futile matching Kerry with any opposition except Cork, a policy that lasted for one year only.

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