Jack O'Connor admits minor star Clifford should bypass his U20 team for place in Eamonn Fitzmaurice's senior squad
Kerry U-20 boss Jack O'Connor has resigned himself to the probability that he will be unable to call on green and gold boy wonder David Clifford next season.
Rules prohibit any player lining out for the U-20s if they are on their county's senior championship panel and O'Connor fully expects the gifted young Fossa star to be part of senior boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice's plans for 2018.
"He has to get a go at it - there's no question about that," O'Connor said. "He'll be a loss to the U-20s obviously but I think the Kerry public might demand that he's promoted fairly quickly," said the man who guided the Kingdom to the first two of their four-in-a-row minor championship wins.
O'Connor acknowledged that it would be "a massive step-up" for the ace attacker but he stressed that, as he has jumped every hurdle that has been put in front of him up to now, there's nothing to suggest that he won't make the top grade.
"He'll certainly get a cut at the league and if his trajectory keeps going upwards, he should be a big player for Kerry in the next couple of years," said O'Connor who also managed the Kerry seniors to three All-Ireland titles.
The Dromid man, recently appointed Kerry U-20 manager for a two-year period, has described Clifford as "an absolutely serious player" and the most dominant minor since Seamus Moynihan.
He added that he was very surprised that Derry didn't try to double-mark him in Sunday's final.
"There is no minor in the country that could mark him one on one. That's what Derry tried to do and they paid the ultimate price," O'Connor told Radio Kerry.
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