Stephen Cluxton ruled out until March but will return to Dublin, Farrell confirms

Farrell presided over his first official press conference as Jim Gavin's successor at the offices of Dublin GAA sponsors AIG and had good news for supporters.

Stephen Cluxton ruled out until March but will return to Dublin, Farrell confirms

New Dublin manager Dessie Farrell has confirmed there'll be no more retirements from their five-in-a-row winning panel, revealing that Stephen Cluxton is targeting a March return from shoulder surgery.

Farrell presided over his first official press conference as Jim Gavin's successor at the offices of Dublin GAA sponsors AIG and had good news for supporters.

He said that captain Cluxton, 38, has indicated his desire to play on for a 20th season and that a host of thirty-something icons including Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Darragh Macauley and Kevin McManamon will all be back too.

In terms of his new management team, the former All-Ireland winning minor and U-21 manager, who only replaced six-time Sam Maguire Cup winning boss Jim Gavin in mid-December, said that he is 'well down the road' to making a public announcement which will probably be 'in the next couple of weeks'.

"I've met with Stephen and he's indicated that he's very keen to stay involved," said Farrell, who indicated that the veteran goalkeeper is likely to miss most if not all of the National League. "A lot of you will be aware that he's just after going through some surgery on his shoulder so that's going to take some time to recover and he needs time to rehab that but he's very keen and intent on staying involved and staking a claim.

"The shoulder injury, I think it was a case that he probably had a little bit more to do on it than he thought but we'd hope to see him back on the field towards the end of March I think."

Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O'Gara called it quits after last September's historic All-Ireland win, following Paul Flynn's decision to quit mid-season, though Farrell said there will be no more retirements.

"No, they're all involved, absolutely," said the Na Fianna man. "At the end of any season, or the beginning of a new season for senior players, it's always a concern at the best of times as to what role you're going to have going forward and particularly when there's a new management in place.

I know what that feels like, I came through seven different managers so I can understand how some of those more senior players would feel about it, maybe that sense of uncertainty.

"But I think in my view anyway they've all been fantastic servants of Dublin football and under our watch they're definitely going to get a chance to stake a claim and to impress the new manager."

Asked if he could name any of the members of his new backroom team and coaching staff, the 1995 All-Ireland winner declined to do so.

"No, I don't meant to be awkward about this but with the (players) away and everything else I'd prefer to fill them in first rather than announce it to the public without letting them know so it's just a timing thing around this," he said.

"They're back over the next couple of days and we'll be back training next weekend so I hope to be able to address the lads on that basis next weekend."

Farrell will manage Dublin for the first time in a competitive game tomorrow when they play Longford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup.

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