Monday 23 April 2018

How Dublin 'pressure' can keep talented David Clifford in Kingdom

Geaney admits Kerry are feeling the heat from Dublin’s continued success

Kerry captain David Clifford celebrates with the Tom Markham cup after the Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Final match between Kerry and Derry at Croke Park in DublinPhoto by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry captain David Clifford celebrates with the Tom Markham cup after the Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Final match between Kerry and Derry at Croke Park in DublinPhoto by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dublin's three-in-a-row has ramped up the pressure on Kerry to hasten a response, according to their PwC All-Star-nominated forward Paul Geaney.

The Kingdom star has said he didn't want to be a player caught up in a golden era for their traditional rivals. But that's exactly where they are after Dublin's 20-match unbeaten championship sequence landed the first All-Ireland football three-in-a-row since Kerry in 1986.

"It's something I said maybe two years ago, I didn't want to be a player playing when Dublin have a golden era and it looks to be unfolding," he said.

"They're in a golden era this minute, the only thing I can try to do to stop that is win an All-Ireland or two before I hang up my boots. It looks pretty tough to do at the moment and we are doing everything we can to try and change it. We've come up short the last three years."

Geaney believes the pressure they are under in pursuit of this Dublin team can prevent David Clifford from signing professional terms with an AFL club in the coming months.

And he has a suspicion that Clifford's skill-set is less suited to AFL than other GAA players who have signed up, despite the AFL's official Twitter account highlighting how many of their clubs would be interested in his talent.

Kerry's Paul Geaney. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry's Paul Geaney. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"I think he can achieve more at home. What we are looking at now is Dublin having done a three-in-a-row and we are under pressure down in Kerry," he conceded. "He can help to contribute and be the main man going forward for Kerry. He can achieve more by staying at home. He will do fine career-wise as well, people around will look after him."

Geaney feels there is a distinction between Clifford potentially staying and another big Kingdom prospect, his Dingle clubmate Mark O'Connor, joining Geelong where he made an impact this season.

"Mark wanted to play in the AFL from 16 years on. He is a different type of player, very athletic, a good fielder out the field but he was not a scorer as such and maybe David's talent may not directly translate into being a good AFL footballer because it is more about being athletic than skills-based.

"The skills in it are catch/kick and fast hands. You don't often see a guy bouncing it in the AFL so it is totally different. I don't think it would suit David as much whereas the AFL suits Mark. Hopefully, we won't even be debating it next year."

Geaney is adamant that everything should be done to keep the Fossa man at home but any special treatment, he accepts, can't come into the equation.

"Where do you draw the line? You can't be doing one thing for one player and something else for another so it would have to be fair across the board.

"There were other young Kerry minors playing on Sunday that might turn out to be the best seniors. It would be unfair to do it for one and not for all. We should try everything in our power to try and keep him at home but I think he is happy enough. He is in his second year in IT Tralee and I think there is a County Board scholarship there so he has that at the moment."

Geaney disputes the views of Colm Cooper and Marc ó Sé among others than Kerry are unlikely to close the gap on Dublin in the next two years.

"Up until the semi-final I was convinced we were going to win it this year. But looking back, we seemed to have peaked for the Munster final and went downhill from there," he said. "We were well off the pace in both Mayo games looking back now and even in the Galway game we were poor, we were sluggish. We have to try to peak later in the year to give ourselves a better chance.

"Any given day you'd fancy our chances to beat Mayo or Dublin. All you've got to do is beat one of them and you'd win the All-Ireland because the other one might be beaten by the other anyway.

"You've just got to keep coming back to try to get into position. I don't know what their views are based on, that the Dublin team is so good that they can't see Kerry beating them?


"You need a lot of luck to win an All-Ireland. If a bit of luck would go our way we could definitely win it. We need to improve a few small areas. There are too many scores going against us. But it's too early to be saying we can't win the All-Ireland over the next couple of years. That's a big statement to be making."

Geaney is certain this Kerry team has the key physical elements to take the champions on. "We would tend to match up with them physically. We have done last year and the year before. Where we lost out was the last six or seven minutes when they had subs coming in and we ran out of gas.

"Physicality wasn't a problem. It wasn't a problem in the league final either. It was a case of running out of gas last year and this year we didn't bring the fight to Mayo. Mayo just brought more fight to the semi-finals, both of them. We weren't at the pitch of the game."



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