On Saturday, Stephen Cluxton made his 89th appearance for Dublin in championship football and in doing so broke the record for the most championship appearances of all time.
Given the commitment and hardship associated with modern day inter-county football that’s a pretty impressive accolade to have on your CV. This is all the more impressive considering he is part of what may yet prove to be the most successful team of all time.
Here, we have a look back through his career and pick out the three stand-out moments from the Parnells and Dublin number one.
2002 – Cluxton’s breakthrough year
In 2002, Dublin had not won a Leinster title since 1995 and had been playing third fiddle in the intervening period within the province, behind Kildare and Meath.
The pair had made four All-Ireland final appearances between them, with Meath winning two. The Royals also claimed three provincial crowns to the Lilywhites two in the same period in the years leading up to Cluxton’s arrival in the side.
It was in this year that the Parnells man nailed down a starting position in the Dublin side, and he played a pivotal role in Dublin’s Leinster semi-final win against Meath, which paved the way for Dublin to claim their first provincial crown in seven years in the Leinster final against Kildare.
It would be 2005 before Dublin retained their provincial crown and 2011 before they made the break through at All-Ireland level.
I believe that Cluxton securing his place on the panel helped get the silverware monkey off Dublin’s back, which sowed the seeds for more silverware over the course of the next decade and a half.
2011 All-Ireland final – injury time point
Put yourself in this situation. You’re playing in the All-Ireland final for Dublin against Kerry, your biggest rivals. You haven’t won it in 16 years and with time virtually up you have a chance to kick the winning score into Hill 16.
This is your moment to sew yourself into the fabric of football culture in not just Dublin but the entire country.
Pressure like this is enough to give most men an aneurysm, but not Cluxton.
He steps up and like with the grace of Jack Nicklaus chipping balls onto a practice green gracefully strikes it over the bar, to end the famine and send the Hill faithful into a state of delirium.
2016 All-Ireland final – third All-Ireland title as captain
To lift the Sam Maguire on the steps of the Hogan on the third Sunday in September is every young boy’s fantasy.
To do it twice is stuff of legend, but to do it a third time is something most young boys and grown men couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams.
But even though a dogged Mayo side pushed them through over 140 minutes, Cluxton and Co held on to win a fourth All-Ireland in six years, giving him the honour of being the first man in the history off the GAA to raise the Sam Maguire for the third time as captain.
What’s even more extraordinary about it is that he has the opportunity to extend that to fourth time in September, if things go well for the blue behemoth that is this Dublin side.
Michael Keaveny, Pundit Arena
Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, where we question if the Super 8s is already doomed, hear from Mickey Harte and Jim Gavin after their quarter-final victories, and discuss Galway’s thrilling win over Tipperary.