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dubs' blow Kevin McManamon's dream of ninth All-Ireland is all but over as he teams up with Olympic boxers in Tokyo

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Team Ireland arrive in Japan.

Team Ireland arrive in Japan.

Team Ireland arrive in Japan.

Eight-time All-Ireland medallist Kevin McManamon looks set to miss out on the chance of winning a record ninth Celtic Cross this year.

The Dublin player is currently in Japan with the Irish Olympic boxing squad and is not due back in Ireland until days before the All-Ireland semi-final if Dublin qualify for the last four. The final is scheduled for August 29.

McManamon retrained as a sports psychologist and was drafted into the IABA’s High Performance unit by its director, Bernard Dunne.

Dunne was involved in Dublin’s back-room team during Jim Gavin’s tenure as team manager.

Ireland will have seven boxers competing in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, which begin next Friday with the opening ceremony at noon (Irish time).

Twenty-four hours later, three Irish boxers, siblings Michaela and Aidan Walsh, as well as Kurt Walker, are due to fight in the Kokugikan Arena.

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Kevin McManamon is in Japan with the Irish
Olympic boxing squad.

Kevin McManamon is in Japan with the Irish Olympic boxing squad.

Kevin McManamon is in Japan with the Irish Olympic boxing squad.

The boxing squad and their support team travelled to Japan two weeks ago and have been training in a camp alongside the US, German and Australian squads in Miyazaki. They flew back to Tokyo yesterday and they will be staying in the Olympic village for the duration of the Games, which conclude on Sunday, August 8.

McManamon’s last appearance for Dublin came in last November’s 2020 Leinster final against Meath when he replaced Ciarán Kilkenny in the closing minutes.

Though he rarely started championship games, McManamon’s ability to make an impact when he came off the bench was a crucial factor in Dublin’s championship successes.

His absence, as well as that of team captain Stephen Cluxton, means that the number of Dublin players who can create history on the last Sunday of August has been reduced to three: Phillip McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons and James McCarthy.

While Cluxton has not indicated to team management whether he will be available this summer, the odds are that he won’t be back. Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan, who won eight All-Ireland medals, have both retired.

These seven Dublin players, together with Kerry’s Pat Spillane, Ger Power, Ogie Moran, Mikey Sheehy and the late Páidí Ó Sé, are the only GAA footballers who won eight All-Ireland medals during their careers. Aged 34 and a member of the St Jude’s club, he made his debut for Dublin in 2010. He started 25 championship games for Dublin and scored a total of 4-21.

His impact when he came off the bench with 20 minutes left in the 2011 All-Ireland final was pivotal in turning the game in favour of Dublin, who were seeking their first All-Ireland win since 1995.

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He scored the goal which ignited the comeback against Kerry, before Cluxton delivered the winning point from a free. It marked a turning point in the fortunes of Dublin and their rivalry with Kerry.

Now he is hoping that he can inspire the Irish boxers to win medals.

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