This is how it was. Twenty years ago this week, Dublin manager Tommy Carr was in these pages telling Ian O’Riordan that John O’Leary might have to come out of retirement for their Leinster opener against Longford. Davy Byrne was injured and even though O’Leary was four years retired and had just turned 40, Carr wanted him as cover. Young Cluxton from the 21s was going to start. But what if something went wrong?
It didn’t, as it goes. Stephen Cluxton fared just fine and the Dubs walloped Longford 2-19 to 1-13. Late on, with the game long gone, future Longford manager Pádraic Davis won a free close to goal and saw that only Cluxton and Paul Curran were standing on the line. Bang. Consolation goal.
In the moment, history never feels too heavy. Jim Gavin replaced Dessie Farrell late on, a 15-minute cameo that turned out to be his