Moran pleads for patience with Clifford

David Moran insists the hype surrounding David Clifford is excessive and the teenager will need time to adapt to senior level.

Moran pleads for patience with Clifford

The prodigious Clifford could make his first senior appearance when Kerry entertain Donegal in Killarney on Sunday week.

Moran appreciates the teenager will bring a level of expectation and is delighted he’s a Kerryman but stresses “some of it is over the top”.

He expanded: “Someone was saying to me if Paul Geaney or Kieran Donaghy were playing full-forward for the minors last year, how would they have got on? You know, at senior level, age doesn’t really matter.

"He’s 19. Look it, some of the best guys I played with...Tommy [Walsh] at 20 and 21 was phenomenal, but at 19 he didn’t get a game. Declan O’Sullivan didn’t make the panel in his first year, and after that he was phenomenal.

“I’m really looking forward to David Clifford, but I think you have to have patience with him. For people thinking he’s going to come in and burn it up just a year out of minors is probably a bit unrealistic.”

Clifford’s 6ft 2in frame will not be as much of an advantage at senior level compared to minor, where he ruled the roost, while Moran also points out that he is challenging for a spot in the most competitive line in the Kerry team.

“He is very talented, but I think people need to be patient, and the other thing is that the full-forward line for Kerry last year was the one line that could put their hand up and say: ‘We did okay.’

“It wasn’t as if we have to have someone in the full- forward line now.

“Paul [Geaney], obviously, had a very good year/ Kieran [Donaghy] in the first Mayo game kept us in it nearly on his own, he was very good against Galway.

"Barry John Keane, Jack Savage, James [O’Donoghue] got Munster player of the year, so it wasn’t as if we need a full-forward or corner-forward badly. It’s probably out around my position... I wouldn’t have been putting my hand up saying I delivered big time in a lot of the games.”

Moran, who turns 30 this year, is in the gym with a mind to returning to competitive action in the latter part of the league, as he gets over “a few niggles”.

Losing All-Ireland finals, he says, has made for longer winters in Kerry, but that’s not to say that the semi-final replay defeat to Mayo didn’t bite.

He rejects the idea they had one eye on Dublin prior to those games, though he acknowledges they had targeted the earlier Division 1 bouts with the All-Ireland champions.

“Dublin coming down to Tralee was obviously going to be a big game. Then, in the league final, there was a national title up for grabs.

"I definitely would say we put a lot into beating them and there was a lot at stake in both games, but did we take Mayo for granted? I don’t think so. That’s probably an insult to Mayo; they beat us fair and square.

"We probably didn’t perform, but maybe they had a lot to do with that. I don’t think it was a case that we went up thinking Dublin are going to be in the final and we’re going to try and raise our game for that. Not for me, anyway.”

Mayo, as with Dublin, may be an itch for Kerry to scratch, but neither are priorities, Moran maintains.

“You’d have to admire them (Dublin) and the way they play too is brilliant, it’s real open football. They have really good forwards, so you’d have to have huge admiration for them. I’ll probably be less bitter when I retire and stuff, but I think you need that for a while.

“You’d have to put your hands up, they have easily been the best team in the country for the last five or six years, but at the end of the day we are out to try win the All-Ireland this year.

"If we don’t play Dublin, it doesn’t bother us, we just want to win the All-Ireland. That’s where we’re coming from, we’re not worrying too much about Dublin, we’re just trying to worry about Kerry.”

David Moran was speaking ahead of the Lidl Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé 2018 Gaelic Football club tournament, which takes place next month (February 16-18) on the Dingle Peninsula. Details on www.paidiose.com

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