Wednesday 24 January 2018

You have to start with the goalie

Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton collects the NFL Division 1 cup in Croke Park on Sunday
Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton collects the NFL Division 1 cup in Croke Park on Sunday

It was without doubt one of the limpest looking events on the G.A.A. calendar so far but the Allianz Football League Division 1 final on Sunday in Croke Park showed us that the Dubs are going to take some beating this year.

It's safe to say they'll waltz through Leinster with Kerry, Donegal or Tyrone looking like the only teams that will trouble them to any real extent.

The team that does beat them is going to have to put a stop to Stephen Cluxton in the goals because he is offering Dublin something that hardly any other county in Ireland is availing of. And that's the re-start.

His deadly accuracy is a joy to behold and must be very frustrating to have to compete against.

Since I was a young boy I have always been amazed by the, at best, indifference, or at worst, contempt shown by club, and county managers to some extent, towards the role of the goalkeeper.

Go to any county and at some stage you will see goalkeepers who can do no more than hoof the ball to the middle of the field. Short kick outs are an alien concept to them.

The vast majority of goalkeepers will turn their heads away when a forward is shooting for goal at close range and I would guess that a lot of clubs, and maybe even some counties (I know I did), still have goalkeepers doing the same training as their outfield comrades for much of the season.

Club and county managers must understand that the goalkeeper is the foundation of the team. A goal is worth three points so having someone who can stop a goal is going to be a handy asset.

Having someone like Cluxton, or, if not like him, then even slightly resembling him in terms of kick-outs, will also be of huge benefit to the team.

I remember the last lad to be picked was always the one thrown in goals or the slowest guy was ordered to stand between the posts.

If you watched Stephen Cluxton on Sunday you'll understand the utter insanity of such decisions.

Wexford People

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