Monday 11 December 2017

I thought GAA was too brutal as a kid, says Dubs hero Stephen Cluxton


Stephen Cluxton, Denis Bastick and Bernard Brogan with pupils
Stephen Cluxton, Denis Bastick and Bernard Brogan with pupils

Dublin's All-Ireland captain Stephen Cluxton has revealed how he ended up becoming a goalkeeper thanks to the indiscipline of a former school friend.

Cluxton, who originally started off playing a variety of sports, including badminton and soccer, was eventually thrown on to a GAA pitch by a teacher.

"I started off as corner-forward because I could kick the ball off the ground. Then I was put corner-back, so it was a slow progression towards the goalkeeper role," he told students at St David's CBS in Artane, where he was a former pupil and is currently a teacher.

"Our goalkeeper got sent off in one game and one of my friends suggested I get in goal. That's how it started really, and I've stayed there ever since."

The Dublin captain said he originally had no intention of playing GAA after watching a particularly feisty match when he was younger.

"I thought to myself, 'I'm never playing that sport, it's too brutal', but that gradually changed," he said.

Cluxton, along with his Dublin team-mates Denis Bastick and Bernard Brogan, visited the students along with the four trophies the team won in 2015.

The Dubs completed a clean sweep this year, winning the Sam Maguire trophy, the Leinster championship, the O'Byrne Cup and the Allianz Football League title.

Introducing the players to a huge cheer from the students, principal Padraic Kavanagh expressed how delighted the pupils and faculty were to have the Dubs - and the trophies - in attendance.

Bastick and Brogan both spoke about their difficulties in battling injuries.

"Everyone goes through setbacks, but I was lucky enough to come back from it," Bastick said.


"There were lonely times being out injured, which makes it even more valuable when you come back from it."

Brogan also suffered an early setback in his career, tearing his cruciate ligaments, but has since won three All-Irelands and is a nominee for the 2015 GAA Player of the Year award.

"I didn't get into the team until I was 24, but once I got that jersey I wasn't going to let it go," Brogan said.

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