Kingdom should give Clifford a break, warns Tralee boss Brosnan

After watching David Clifford secure a first Sigerson Cup win for Tralee in 11 years, manager Liam Brosnan questioned the need for one of Kerry’s treasured assets to be playing senior county football so soon.

Kingdom should give Clifford a break, warns Tralee boss Brosnan

The 19-year-old is not the only rising star in the Kingdom, but his 1-4 against Queen’s University yesterday, and assist for the match- winning goal for Conor O’Driscoll, will not have dampened the enthusiasm about his potential.

The midweek trek to Belfast, sandwiched in between Allianz League games for Kerry in Killarney last Sunday and Castlebar on Saturday night, is just a glimpse of the demands facing him.

“David is a superstar in everyone’s eyes, but he is a very down-to-earth kind of a guy,” said Brosnan.

“He is one of the boys in the dressing room, there’s no airs and graces with him, he is a fantastic guy to deal with and I hope he stays like that. I think he will, He’s very grounded.

“Students might be hard to prepare at times, but they are a good bunch, and they are being torn left, right and centre.

"David and Gavin [Crowley] played with Kerry at the weekend, they’re with us today, with Kerry again at the weekend and then we have another Sigerson Cup game next week, against Carlow or DIT. We’re on about player burnout and yet they have to play four games in 10 days.

“It’s a pity. The likes of David could be left off the county team for a couple of weeks to be let go and play Sigerson football and enjoy it.

“The summer is long enough to be playing football.”

Brosnan hailed Clifford’s display yesterday as “fantastic”.

“He led the line and, even when we were down the point, he was the guy who stepped up, got the interception and we got the goal off it.”

Clifford did all his scoring in the first half, with four frees and then he got his fist onto Shane Cronin’s long ball in, flicking it over his head into the back of the net just before half time.

It was the perfect time to grab a goal and put Tralee — whose last Sigerson Cup win came against Carlow in ’07 and last title in ’99 — 1-6 to 0-5 ahead at the break, after the sides were level five times in the opening half.

Queen’s, with Donegal’s Lorcan Connor top-scoring with 0-6, out-scored the visitors by six points to one in the second half. Central to that was Armagh midfielder Ben Crealey, who came on for the second half and almost turned the game on his own with an outstanding display of fielding and forceful running.

His lovely point put the home side ahead in the 52nd minute for the first time since the early stages of the game but Tralee, and Clifford, held their nerve.

Cronin was fouled by Patrick O’Hagan, but advantage was played, allowing Clifford to do his thing, picking up the ball and running at the defence.

He unselfishly fisted the ball out to the impressive Conor O’Driscoll at the far post and he buried a low shot across the goalkeeper.

Scorers for Queen’s:

L Connor 0-6 (3f), T Rushe, E Bradley 0-2 (1f) each, B Crealey 0-1

Scorers for IT Tralee:

D Clifford 1-4 (4f), C O’Driscoll 1-2 (1f), D O’Keeffe, D Spillane 0-1 each

Queen’s University:

Callum Mullan-Young (Derry); Niall Keenan (Derry), Patrick Murdock (Down), Aidan Rushe (Armagh); Conor Murphy (Fermanagh), James McMahon (Fermanagh), Niall Scullion (Down); Shea Heffron (Armagh), Emmett Bradley (Derry), Callum O’Neill (Armagh), Patrick O’Hagan (Down), Donal McKeever (Down); Aidan Fegan (Down), Lorcan Connor (Donegal), Tiarnan Rushe (Down)

Subs:

Ben Crealey (Armagh) for Fegan (HT), Eamon Fyfe (Antrim) for McKeever (38), Fearghus Quinn (Louth) for Scullion (42), Conor Martin (Armagh) for O’Neill (43), Lorcan Oliver (Armagh) for Murphy (Black card, 60)

IT Tralee:

Conor Hurley (Kerry); Conor Smith (Cavan), Eoghan Marah (Wicklow), Brian Fitzgerald (Kerry); Jack Morgan (Kerry), Gavin Crowley (Kerry), Shane Cronin (Kerry); Paul Clarke (Kerry), George Bastible (Kerry); Sean Cournane (Kerry), Conor Lowney (Cork), David Spillane (Kerry); Daniel O’Keeffe (Cork), David Clifford (Kerry), Conor O’Driscoll (Cork).

Subs:

Cathal Kearney (Kerry) for Morgan (34), Conchuir Lynch for O’Keeffe (50), Aaron McCarthy (Kerry) for Spillane (52), Gavin McKenna (Kerry) for Clarke (55).

Referee:

Niall McKenna (Monaghan).

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