David Clifford: Mauritius will have to wait. Fossa have a Munster Junior final to win

Kerry talisman savoured All-Ireland medals presentation on Friday but he won't be joining the Kingdom's exotic end-of-campaign holiday
David Clifford: Mauritius will have to wait. Fossa have a Munster Junior final to win

SOMEWHERE OVER...David Clifford signs autographs for young supporters.

Munster Club JFC semi-final

Castlemahon (Limerick) 0-5 Fossa (Kerry) 1-22

New Kerry captain David Clifford has confirmed he will forego a holiday with his Kerry team-mates to Dubai and Mauritius next weekend as he wants a Munster Junior Football Championship trophy to add to impressive haul of already collected in 2022.

Clifford was reflecting on Fossa’s 22-point demolition job of Castlemahon at a sold-out Coolyroe on Saturday as he admitted he would love to end the year on a high.

“It's brilliant to be looking forward to a Munster final, there is a great buzz around Fossa. We will go back training on Tuesday night and focus because if we are to lose now it would take a small bit of gloss off the year.“ 

That would mean he will have to pass on an end-of-year celebration in the Indian Ocean, as he said: “I don’t think I will be going for now, Fossa comes first and we are looking forward to the Munster Final now.” 

Despite all evidence to the contrary, though, he is human and admits a small bit of tiredness creeping in after a long season.

"Of course, there is a bit of tiredness creeping in now but the management have been brilliant when we needed a training session off now and then. When you are winning it makes it an awful lot easier. It was a massive honour to meet up the Kerry lads on Friday night to collect the medals and while it’s great to look back the season, it was also important to look forward to next year and drive it on again.” 

As to the demolition job done on Castlemahon, Clifford added: "I suppose the score line reflects the win, but it was a tough battle and they were a very physical side. We played with the aid of the wind in the first half and that really helped us. We came out of the blocks quickly and the O’Shea brothers in the corner really fired and that helped us build up a big lead.” 

In fact, the O’Shea brothers Emmet and Tadgh outshone the Clifford brothers, scoring 1-10 between them and all from play. Not that David has any issue with sharing the scoring load.

“Firstly you won’t win a Kerry Junior Championship without having fifteen players performing. The standard is very high. So it was brilliant for the boys if one of us (David or Paudie) has a quieter day to go out the field and the boys are firing inside. Emmet (O'Shea) has played at the highest level and so has Tadgh, so it’s great.” 

Fossa dominated around the middle thanks to Paudie Clifford, Matt Rennie, Cian O’Shea, and Paddy Sheehan, and Castlemahon could never muster a threat. The hosts were also guilty of turning over the ball with regularity against a rampant Fossa side.

Clifford had two wides before Fossa cut loose in the fifth minute with a point from man-of-the match Emmet O’Shea, quickly followed by a brace his brother Tadgh. Clifford got on the score sheet in the 12th minute when he converted a free. A succession of points followed by Emmet O’Shea, David and Paudie Clifford, and Matt Rennie as Fossa moved 0-10 to 0-1 in front after 20 minutes. A black card for Mike Fitzgibbon in the 24th minute didn’t help the home side and seconds later David Clifford sent Emmet O’Shea through who blasted the ball to the Castlemahon net. It was 1-11 to 0-1 at half time.

“Look we have all seen comebacks in games but you are just conscious of not letting that happen and just keeping our standards high,” said Clifford as he reflected on the second half. No fear. Castlemahon tried until the very end and Alan Roche kicked three points, while Mike Fitzgibbon got the other. But it was a day where Fossa eased into a Munster final where they will face Kilmurry.

Scorers for Fossa: E O’Shea (1-7), P Clifford and D Clifford (2fs) (0-4 each), T O’Shea (0-3), M Rennie (0-2), C O’Shea and H Kelly (0-1 each).

Scorers for Castlemahon: A Roche (0-4, 2 frees), M Fitzgibbon (0-1).

FOSSA: S O’Sullivan; K McCarthy, F Coffey, B Myers; D O’Keeffe, P Clifford, D O’Connell; E Talbot, P Sheehan; H Buckley, M Rennie, C O’Shea; T O’Shea, D Clifford, E O’Shea.

Subs: D Cronin for D Clifford (48), H Kelly for T O’Shea (48), R Colleran for M Rennie (50), A Wharton for K McCarthy (50), M Dennehy for P Clifford (56).

CASTLEMAHON: G Sexton; M Cremin; N Kennedy, C Lynch; J Flynn, M Nolan, D O’Brien; Sean Flanagan , A Roche; M O’Sullivan, Seamus Flanagan, C O’Sullivan; S Downey, D O’Sullivan, J F Reidy.

Subs: M Fitzgibbon for M Cremin (20), J Condon for M O’Sullivan (44), K Normoyle for J F Reidy (44), J McEnery for J Flynn (45), D Nash for N Kennedy (58).

Referee: J Bermingham (Cork)

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