Dessie Farrell gave his first press briefing on Friday morning with the new Dublin manager confirming that six-time All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton will return to the set-up in 2020.
There had been speculation surrounding Cluxton’s future given the surprise nature of Jim Gavin’s resignation coupled with the fact that the current Footballer of the Year recently turned 38.
Farrell confirmed on Friday that Cluxton would indeed be coming back for season number 19 once he recovers from shoulder surgery. He is expected to return to inter-county action towards the end of March.
“Yeah, I’ve met with Stephen and he’s indicated that he’s very keen to stay involved. A lot of you would be aware that he’s just after going through some surgery on his shoulder there so that’s going to take some time to recover and he needs the time to rehab that but he’s very keen and intent on staying involved and staking a claim,” Farrell said.
“The shoulder injury. I think it was just probably, he’d a little bit more to do with it than he thought but we’d hope to see him back on the field towards the end of March, I think.”
Of course, Cluxton isn’t the only long-serving stalwart involved with the five-in-a-row winning champions. Names like Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Darragh Macauley and Kevin McManamon have also been linked with retiring. However, the Na Fianna man confirmed that it’s all hands on deck in 2020.
According to Farrell, Dublin’s senior stars have been fantastic servants and will get a chance to stake a claim under his regime.
“No, they’re all involved, absolutely,” Farrell said.
“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 team 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 might feel about it, and 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 management team.”
As of yet, Farrell’s backroom team is still unknown.
However, he did hint to the media that he has more or less finalised his staff ahead of the new season.
“We’re well down the road. Obviously, given the sudden nature of Jim’s resignation and Christmas and the team and backroom team being away on holidays, there’s a few final bits and pieces to put together. But we’re well down the road and I’m happy where I’m at with it now.
“Obviously, there are some big decisions to be made there that’s not just going to impact on this season but over the next couple of seasons. So, I’m happy to take my time when making those decisions but over the next couple of weeks we should have it finalised and it’ll be under constant review.”
When pressed for names of those who will be working alongside him in 2020, Farrell made it clear that there would be no announcement until he has first informed the current Dublin panel who are not due back to training until next weekend following their team holiday to Bali.
“And I don’t mean to be awkward yet but with the lads being away and everything else, I’d prefer to fill them in first rather than sort of announce it in public, without letting them know,” Farrell said.
“So there’s a timing thing around this and obviously they’re back over the next couple of days and will be back training next weekend, so I hope to be able to address the lads on that basis next week.”