'It's going to take a while for him to develop' - Joe Brolly urges patience after subdued start to David Clifford's Kerry career
Kerry teen sensation David Clifford much-anticipated debut was a little anti-climactic but Joe Brolly believes it will take him time to acclimatise to the senior ranks.
Clifford has gained a huge reputation over the last two years with his exploits for the Kerry minors that led to him winning two All-Ireland titles and many admirers.
His 4-4 haul in last year's All-Ireland final catapulted the young Fossa forward into the spotlight.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice decided to hand him his first start in Sunday's national league opener against Donegal and while he showed glimpses of his ability he was kept largely anonymous by the Donegal defence.
Speaking on Independent.ie's GAA podcast 'The Throw-In' in association with Allianz, Brolly pointed out that it was baptism of fire for the youngster and it could take a while before he realises his full potential.
"I think for David Clifford it was just one to get out of the way. to get your debut made and get on the field," he said.
"It was a tough experience for him. He was a man-child playing amongst boys as a minor but at senior level you could immediately see that it's going to take quite a while for him to develop.
"He had a very tough time while he was on the field and made very, very little contribution to Kerry's performance but that was to be expected.
"There is an enormous difference between men and boys in gaelic football and he's coming into an environment where he's coming up against guys who are three or four years older and much tougher, much harder, quicker. The game happens at an entirely different pace.
"Also, the Kerry senior team isn't built around David Clifford.
"He comes from a small village in Kerry and I've never heard anyone saying that he's anything other than a modest lad who wants to play for Kerry.
"This is just part of his development."
If Clifford was kept quiet, Sean Ó Sé excelled with seven points from centre-forward and Brolly was very impressed by the imposing attacker.
"I though the real success story for Kerry was Sean Ó Sé at number 11 who looked absolutely at home and looked quite devastating.
"His performance was probably overshadowed by the media hysteria around David Clifford.
"I thought he looked superb in a position that has been problematic for Kerry for a number of years."
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