David Clifford: ‘Playing for Kerry was always the dream’

Kerry sensation David Clifford is happy for senior manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice and U20 boss Jack O’Connor to sort out his immediate inter-county future.
David Clifford: ‘Playing for Kerry was always the dream’

On Saturday, Clifford collected the Electric Ireland Minor Star Footballer-of-the- Year award at Croke Park — and confirmed that he’s staying put in Ireland for now.

O’Connor would dearly love to have Clifford available for an assault on U20 honours but it’s anticipated that the deadly forward will be fast-tracked into Fitzmaurice’s senior set-up.

Clifford, who will be 19 next January, brought the curtain down on his inter-county minor career with two All-Ireland medals and a burgeoning reputation.

He bagged 1-10 in Kerry’s semi-final win over Cavan and notched an incredible 4-4 when the Kingdom claimed the four-in-a-row with victory against Derry.

Clifford was in action for Fossa yesterday against Firies in the O’Donoghue Cup East Kerry senior championship and says that he’s had a “brief” conversation with Fitzmaurice in the wake of his minor heroics.

Clifford explained: “He briefly congratulated me. Maybe he’ll be in touch, maybe he won’t. We’ll see how it goes.”

Clifford admits that he’s been happy with his form, but added: “It’s about continuing that and improving.

“I still have a lot of improving to make, there are no guarantees that making it at minor is going to push you onto a senior team.

“I still have a lot of hard work to do.”

And he confirmed: “I’m staying put, that’s the main thing.

“To be honest, playing for Kerry was always a dream of mine so any opportunity I got to do that, I was going to jump at it. Whichever step the management teams decide to take, I’ll be delighted to go along with that.

“There’s plenty of time there yet so whatever team it is, I don’t mind.”

Clifford was one of eight Kerry players named on the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Football Team of the Year.

He said: “It’s a special personal award for myself and it’s nice to be recognised but the most important thing is the team, and the hard work they’ve put in throughout the year.”

And Clifford insists that he’s “fine” with the growing attention surrounding his scoring exploits.

He smiled: “It’s fine, there’s a lot of fellas around my home place will bring me back down to earth with a bump so it doesn’t last too long.

“I remember the night after the All-Ireland, the Monday night, I spent the night in Fossa with my friends and that was just a special memory for me, just to get away from everything.

“Obviously meeting people and letting them congratulate you is special but you need a bit of down time to yourself as well.”

Cork’s Brian Turnbull was named Electric Ireland Minor Star Hurler of the Year. Turnbull was part of the Cork side beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland final, but the Douglas youngster impressed all season before injury heartbreak in recent weeks when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament training with his club.

Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Hurling Team of the Year:

D Fahy (Galway, Ardrahan), C Killeen (Galway, Loughrea), S O’Leary Hayes (Cork, Midleton), D Morrissey (Galway, Sarsfields), A McCarthy (Clare, Inagh-Kilnamona), J Keating (Cork, Kildorrery), L Gannon (Dublin, Whitehall Colmcilles), D Connery (Cork, Na Piarsaigh), C Fahey (Galway, Padraig Pearses), B Roche (Cork, Bride Rovers), S Currie (Dublin, Na Fianna), A Mullen (Kilkenny, Ballyhale Shamrocks), S Bleahane (Galway, Ahascragh-Fohenagh), J Canning (Galway, Portumna), B Turnbull (Cork, Douglas).

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