Tuesday 23 July 2019

David Clifford - Kerry not focusing on ending Dublin's five in-a-row charge

David Clifford could face Mayo on Saturday
David Clifford could face Mayo on Saturday

Kerry star David Clifford says that the Kingdom aren't thinking about Dublin's five in-a-row bid ahead of their first clash against Jim Gavin's side in 2019.

Kerry welcome Dublin to Tralee this Saturday for a mouthwatering league encounter, and although Clifford is ruled out, he says that the four in-a-row champions are only beginning to come up in preparations.

Speaking as the county launched a third year of its partnership with Alliance Medical, he said: "I suppose Dublin's five-in-a-row isn't exactly top of our agenda at the moment.

"We're playing Dublin in the third league game so I think that's the only time Dublin will come into our focus early on in the year."

Clifford won't return to action until the latter portion of the league but already the 20-year-old is excited to link up with the other young players new manager Peter Keane has opted to use thus far in the campaign.

The All Star forward also paid tribute to former boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

"There's going to be a lot of change," he said.

"It's unbelievable to have the amount of young players we have mixed with the experienced players so I think it should be a very exciting year ahead for Kerry.

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"The regime Eamonn [Fitzmaurice] had was unbelievable. Every little last detail was thought of. Carrying through to Peter Keane and the new lads that have come in, it's going to be unbelievable as well.

"From what we've seen so far, the work we're putting in is of a very high standard and we're just hoping that we can go a few steps further this year."

Clifford enjoyed a memorable debut year in senior football, setting the Super 8s on fire with a number of impressive attacking displays. Reflecting on his rooke season, Clifford says that perhaps less can sometimes be more when it comes to training and playing.

"It was a big change for me physicality wise, going from minor to senior level," he said.

"Fellows were bigger and the hits you were getting were a lot tougher. The pace was a big step up.

"Even the atmosphere and things around match day was totally different so nerves and things like that set in a lot more last year than it did in previous years.

"I probably should have listened to my body a bit more. The injury I picked up against Mayo in the league game [last year] was probably as a result of the three games that I'd played in over that week or so.

"It was my first year with Kerry and I wanted to play and playing the Sigerson with Tralee was massive. So down the line it is something I really have to have to look at and be careful with because it's the last thing players want to do is be injured."

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