David Clifford has been one of the most in-form footballers in the country since he burst onto the senior scene for Kerry in 2018 following a hugely successful run at underage level.
All eyes were on the Fossa man to see how he would cope and he did not disappoint with a string of outstanding performances that earned him the title of Young Footballer of the Year.
His first year under Eamonn Fitzmaurice was something of a mixed bag as he earned his first provincial title with the Kingdom but the side then failed to make it out of the Super 8s.
Despite the attention, Clifford has managed to keep two feet firmly on the ground as he enters his second year with the senior set-up.
“It went well personally, not as well as we would have liked for the team. It was a proud moment for the family, I’m just looking forward to putting in another good season hopefully.
“You are just in your own bubble focused on getting ready for the Championship this year. You don’t even see or hear a lot of the talk which is great I suppose.”
The transition to senior level must have been a challenge for the 20-year-old coming from such a familiar and successful setting but he had plenty of experienced heads around to help him adjust.
“The likes of Kieran Donaghy and I used to travel to a lot of trainings with Kevin McCarthy, he’d been on the panel for a few years before it. So they were very big, showing me the ropes and basically just getting, telling you what was in store.
“[They’d be telling you] whether a session is going to be tough or not, what we’re going to be doing for the next two or three weeks, maybe bit of advice here or there if you did something well, maybe something they thought you could work on. It was great to have fellas like them there.”
Clifford missed much of the league campaign following his recovery from a shoulder injury but the period of rest has allowed him to return to the Kerry set-up fully refreshed and it was one he gladly welcomed following the busy schedule of 2018.
“It was nice to get a prolonged break, between club football and everything it was nice to get an extended pre-season to work on everything. Just to put a bit of extra focus into everything in my game, that was great.
“I played three or four league games for the club in April as well so they were massive just getting a bit of football under my belt. So the body’s perfect thank God.
“I was itching to get back. The league final probably didn’t go as we’d have liked it to go but it was great to get a bit of football into me before the championship.”
Kerry will be reliant on the sharpshooter when they take on Cork in the Munster final later in the month. Peter Keane’s men edged past Clare following a disjointed performance in Ennis while Cork powered past Limerick in the province’s other semi-final.
Despite their poor league campaign that saw them relegated to Division 2, Clifford is expecting a strong challenge from Cork when they meet in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
“Cork had a massive win. As you can see with Tipperary in the hurling, they probably didn’t have a brain-storming league but they’ve been unbelievable so far in the championship.
“It’s very hard to know what you’re going to get with teams until you see them in the championship so it’ll be a massive challenge now going to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”
Kerry Footballer David Clifford alongside Kilkenny Hurler Eoin Murphy and Cork Ladies Footballer Orla Finn today launched the brand-new Blueberry flavour Avonmore Protein Milk, just in time for a busy summer of sport.
Avonmore Protein Milk is proud to partner with GAA players as part of their training regime. A contribution from each litre of Avonmore Protein Milk sold is redirected towards GAA initiatives to fund grass roots GAA and GPA player development programmes.