Thursday 26 April 2018

'Maybe he'll be in touch' - Starlet David Clifford happy to wait for senior call

Clifford collected the Electric Ireland Minor Star Footballer of the Year award at Croke Park. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Clifford collected the Electric Ireland Minor Star Footballer of the Year award at Croke Park. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Kerry sensation David Clifford is happy for senior manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and U-20 boss Jack O'Connor to sort out his immediate inter-county future.

On Saturday, Clifford (pictured) collected the Electric Ireland Minor Star Footballer of the Year award at Croke Park - and confirmed that he's staying put in Ireland for now.

O'Connor would dearly love to have Clifford available for an assault on U-20 honours but it's anticipated that the deadly forward will be fast-tracked into Fitzmaurice's senior set-up.

Clifford, who will turn 19 in January, brought the curtain down on his inter-county minor career with two All-Ireland medals and a burgeoning reputation.

He bagged 1-10 in Kerry's semi-final win over Cavan and fired 4-4 when the Kingdom claimed the four-in-a-row with victory against Derry at Croke Park.

Clifford was in action for Fossa yesterday against Firies in the O'Donoghue Cup East Kerry senior championship - and says that he's had a "brief" conversation with Fitzmaurice in the wake of his minor heroics.

"He briefly congratulated me. Maybe he'll be in touch," he said. "We'll see how it goes."

Clifford is happy with his recent form, but added: "I still have a lot of improving to make, there are no guarantees that making it at minor is going to push you onto a senior team."

And he confirmed: "I'm staying put, that's the main thing. Playing for Kerry was always a dream of mine so any opportunity I got to do that, I was going to jump at it.

"Whichever step the management teams decide to take, I'll be delighted to go along with that. There's plenty of time there yet so whatever team it is, I don't mind."

Clifford was one of eight Kerry players named on the Minor Football Team of the Year, and he collected the Player of the Year gong at the weekend.

And while he acknowledges that the future appears bright for his county, Clifford knows that underage success doesn't guarantee a golden senior future.

He said: "There's a lot of hard work gone into development squads.

"The future of Kerry is bright but I'm sure every county is saying the same thing so it doesn't guarantee success at any level."

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