Far be it from David Clifford to tell how Peter Keane who to pick in his Kerry panel but he reckons his brother Paudie has done enough to earn a call-up.
The official man of the match as East Kerry dismantled Dr Crokes on Sunday, the older Clifford sibling’s play-making could offer Keane a serious option in his half-forward line.
It was felt his form with Sigerson Cup winners UCC earlier this year might have put him in the frame for a phone call from Keane but Clifford hopes his latest final exploits can see Paudie added to the squad. “It’s hard to know what Peter Keane is thinking but you can’t do much more besides getting man of the match in the county final so he has done all he can.”
Clifford knew his brother always had the talent to make an impact as he did in Austin Stack Park on Sunday. But the area of his game he had to work was his physique. “Physicality-wise, he’s not too big in height so he has put massive time into his body and it is showing,” he said. “I’ve seen it first hand the amount of time he has put into his game in the last two years.
“Obviously (Paudie was) disappointed not be involved with Kerry the last year or two but he didn’t let that get that to him but he’s playing ridiculous football again this year and it has made myself and Darragh Roche’s job fairly inside when he’s able to pick us out with passes from 30 or 40 yards out. It’s great to see him get his recognition. He hasn’t got any break in his career so far - hopefully, this will be the one.”
Clifford himself could hardly have imagined his first senior county final going any better. “It’s unbelievable. After a tough few years for Kerry, it’s nice for us young fellas to break in, there is the likes of James Devane and Jack (Sherwood) who have been here for years and years and I think they got to a semi-final in 2011 or 2012 and since that it has been barren years for East Kerry at senior level.
“So it’s great to come in with a group of friends and family, we’ve all gone to school together and we’ve all played underage together, it’s unbelievable, there has been great camaraderies between the team the last three years. This is Jerry’s (Sullivan) third year and we’ve been building every year.
“It’s right up there when you are playing with friends, fellas you have played all the way up with, fellas you went to school with and family. To be able to get a win over a team like the Crokes, everyone in that dressing room has suffered so many defeats to.”
Simply playing football was the best way for Clifford to move on from Kerry’s All-Ireland final replay defeat to Dublin. “It was an ideal way. It would have been worse if there was no football and we were back thinking about it, watching it back and things like that. Hard to get it out of your head. Having games to focus on, I think we had about eight games in nine weeks so it kept your mind off it, a new focus.”
The 20-year-old said the divisional team had targeted the start to deny Crokes momentum. “Crokes have been the dominant team in Kerry in the last decade so to be able to even share a field with them and be going up against them was a massive challenge for us and we were under no illusions about that.
“They have been ahead in every game this year so that was a big challenge we set ourselves to try and get ahead. The wind helped us in the first half and then we’ve had a massive period after half-time in each game and we did that again and just kicked on.”