Kerry chairman insists there's no guarantee that David Clifford will be drafted into senior football
Kerry county board chairman Tim Murphy insists there's no guarantee that underage star David Clifford will be drafted straight into Éamonn Fitzmaurice's senior squad following a stellar campaign at minor level.
Murphy confirmed that the Fossa forward would be staying with the Kingdom after turning down the chance to join the AFL in Australia.
Murphy says that Clifford's decision to stay followed a recent meeting with Fitzmaurice and what team he will be joining will not be clear until next year.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and over the moon that David has confirmed he’ll be with us in 2018,” Murphy told Radio Kerry.
“I think everyone in Kerry and in the GAA, generally, will be delighted with the news. It is a great boost for us.
“He would have met with our manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice in the last week-and-a-half. There is no expectation on David’s part that he’ll be automatically into the senior team. He has just committed to Kerry.
"How that will unfold, in terms of the U20s and the seniors, will pan out next year. The fact he has committed to Kerry is the important thing here.”
Last month the Kerry County Board announced that Fitzmaurice was being proposed by the Kerry executive for a further two years, on top of the year that he has left on his most recent agreement, which will potentially take him through to 2020.
According to the Irish Independent's Colm Keys, the significance of the announcement is wrapped up in the detail attached to it.
The Kerry County Board and team management have agreed to develop a three-year support programme for the senior squad "with particular emphasis on player development and progression together with strength and conditioning".
It will be based around their newly-opened €7m training centre in Currans and the facilities it can provide them.
The assumption was that Kerry had such a programme in place already for this, especially with the talent at their disposal.
There is only one conclusion to be drawn from all of this that change is coming. And fast.
By committing for three years, Fitzmaurice is clearly acknowledging that the overhaul will potentially take that long, and that next year could be a case of battening down the hatches for the imminent transition.