Clifford should not be punished for Kerry’s inability to beat Cork.
Despite what you may have read elsewhere, David Clifford fully deserves his All-Star nomination, and here’s why.
The 2020 PwC All-Star football nominations were announced for 2020 with Clifford being Kerry’s sole nominee.
The awards take into account both league and championship performances throughout the year.
David Clifford got an All star nomination. I suppose that below par performance and missed points in his only championship game really made the decision easy😫
— Colm Parkinson (@Woolberto) January 15, 2021
Social media reaction.
The 2018 Young Footballer of the Year’s nomination has received a mixed reaction on social media.
Former Laois forward Colm Parkinson wasn’t happy and took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“David Clifford got an All star nomination,” he tweeted.
“I suppose that below par performance and missed points in his only championship game really made the decision easy.”
David Clifford's goal was a thing of beauty!
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) January 25, 2020
Dublin v Kerry January 2020.
Due to recency bias, it’s easy to forget how scintillating David Clifford was throughout the interrupted 2020 National League.
Kerry’s league campaign started with a rematch of the 2019 All-Ireland Final against Dublin at Croke Park on the last weekend of January.
Same opponent. Same venue.
Clifford was sensational on the night, scoring 1-3. This included a goal of the year contender in the first half.
The Kerry forward received the ball inside the 45′ before skinning Davy Byrne. With pressure on the shot, he fired it low past Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton.
If that wasn’t enough, he fired the last kick of the game high into the Croke Park sky, as it sailed over for the equalising point.
2020 National League.
Kerry followed that draw with a one-point win over Galway, with the East Kerry forward scoring 0-6 on the night, 0-3 from play.
Clifford continued his good form against Tyrone, albeit in a narrow defeat. The two-time All-Star winner scored 0-6 against Mickey Harte’s men, 0-2 from the 45m line.
Personal hauls of 1-3 and 0-3 in victories against Meath and Mayo respectively put Kerry in pole position to reach the National League final before the enforced break due to Covid-19.
Since the restart in October, the IT Tralee student continued where he left off.
0-6 against Monaghan was followed a week later by 0-5 against Ulster champions Donegal.
Due to no final taking place, those two post-lockdown victories left Kerry top of Division 1, earning the Kingdom their 21st National League title.
They now looked prime for a Sam Maguire tilt.
Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Cork v Kerry in the Munster SFC Semi-Final here on GAANOW!
Kerry: 0-13 pic.twitter.com/B7V7ohCnFS
— The GAA (@officialgaa) November 8, 2020
But, Kerry were caught cold against their old rivals Cork, meaning they exited the Championship at the first hurdle.
Clifford scored 0-4 of Kerry’s 0-13 total, 0-3 coming from play.
Not bad for a “below par performance.”
The 2014 All-Ireland champions have been duly punished on the All-Star list with Clifford their sole nominee.
However, to criticise the nomination of the two-time All-Ireland minor winner off the back of scoring 0-3 from play, in an ultimately losing effort, is frankly ludicrous.
Below are David Clifford’s 2020 Kerry statistics. A model of consistency, he scored 2-36 across eight league and championship games, with just 0-11 coming from frees.
Clifford contributed at least 0-3 from play in every game.
January 25 – Dublin (A) 1-3 (0-2f)
February 1 – Galway (H) 0-6 (0-3f)
February 9 – Tyrone (A) 0-6 (0-2f, 0-1 mark)
February 23 – Meath (H) 1-3 (0-1f)
March 1 – Mayo (A) 0-3
October 17 – Monaghan (A) 0-6 (0-1f, 0-2 mark)
October 24 – Donegal (H) 0-5 (0-1f)
November 8 – Cork (A) 0-4 (0-1f)
Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor and Cavan’s Oisin Kiernan can consider themselves very unlucky to miss out on making the list.
But, David Clifford’s consistency against Division 1 opposition throughout 2020 should get recognised.
How can anyone look at the above statistics and highlights and not feel he should get an All-Star nomination?
It goes without saying that Kerry’s defeat to Cork will prevent the Fossa clubman from winning an All-Star.
Nevertheless, due to his incredible performances from January to November, he fully deserves his nomination.