When Seamus Moynihan was handed the Kerry captaincy for 2000, as a result of East Kerry winning the county championship, David Clifford was only months old.
A couple of decades later, the pair could trade tales on the feeling of being thrown the armband as a result of success with the regional team.
For Moynihan, nicknamed The Pony, it wasn’t his first rodeo as he’d earned the honour in similar circumstances for 1998 though it was in his second coming as captain in 2000 that he struck it big, captaining an All-Ireland winning team.
He was just shy of his 27th birthday at that stage, considerably older and more experienced that Clifford now, who only turned 21 recently. Not that the Glenflesk man views this as a particular impediment to Clifford whom he has struck up a relationship with over the years, noting that the Fossa phenom is ‘21 going on 31’, the same view most observers seem to hold.
“I suppose David is the exception to the rule because he is very young but will just take it in his stride, that’s the type of fella he is,” said Moynihan.
“Thankfully this year they’ve got a guy in David who is very good and he’s going to be one of the first names on the team sheet any day you go out. He’s not going to be looking over his shoulder and that brings confidence in itself, and he is bringing fantastic football to the table as well.”
What sets Moynihan apart from other commentators regarding Clifford, aside from their shared achievement, is that he actually managed him, for a couple of different teams.
“I did, with Fossa,” said Moynihan. “I trained him with the East Kerry minors as well and we won two with them. But at club level, I didn’t really train David because he wasn’t there! He came for the intermediate games and stuff like that, that’s nothing against David, that’s just down to the way it was because obviously you train with your county and when he got the opportunity to train with the club, he did train of course.
“He’s a very good guy. To be fair, his brother Paudie has been carrying Fossa for the last few years and has been a fantastic player. I’m delighted he got an opportunity to get in with Kerry, even though at the minute he is injured. It’s a pity because he would be getting a few games in the National League. Hopefully he’ll be back.”
Asked if he can recall any moments of teenage magic for the Clifford highlights reel, Moynihan goes back to the 2016 Hogan Cup final at Croke Park, the number 11 striking 2-5 that day for victors St Brendan’s Killarney.
“That was the first I saw of David, in the Sem,” said Moynihan. “He got a wonder-goal that day, just turned it on for 15 minutes. Himself and Dara Moynihan were exceptional on the day but David had something special, he looked faster with the ball than without it and he got a cracking goal I remember to put them four points up. He was a super talent from the word go, a brilliant soccer player too, just one of those multi-talented guys. At club level he was unbelievable.”
Clifford comes in as captain of a Kerry team that contested an All-Ireland final replay last year.
In Moynihan’s case in 2000, Kerry had been beaten by Cork by six points in the previous year’s Munster final yet he went on to enjoy the ultimate success as skipper.
He added two more All-Irelands, in 2004 and 2006, though whenever Kerry came up against Tyrone in the 2000s, the Red Hands came out on top, starting with a famous semi-final win in 2003. The day of Pat Spillane’s puke football.
“They did make hay,” shrugged Moynihan ahead of Kerry’s trip to Omagh on Sunday.
“The 2005 final was one that could have gone either way, 2003 was terrible. I wasn’t involved myself in 2008. I thought Kerry set themselves up poorly (in 2008) considering the team.
“It was all about the two towers, kicking bad ball in. Look, Tyrone had an exceptional team. They won, and deserved to win the three days. End of, to be fair.”