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Ciaran Whelan Speaks Sense On Crazy Expectations Of David Clifford

Ciaran Whelan Speaks Sense On Crazy Expectations Of David Clifford
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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"When you have drink, leave the phone away," was Ciaran Whelan's advice for Paul Flynn following the backlash for his tweet knocking David Clifford's Footballer of the Year credentials.

"You look at David Clifford, and I was only reflecting on this in the last couple of days, the pressure on that young kid is just off the charts," two-time Dublin All-Star Whelan told the RTÉ GAA podcast.

"The weight of expectation that he carried into that final, it doesn't even bear thinking about. He was fantastic all year.

"His contribution in the final... Paul Mannion was Man of the Match and he got four points. The narrative coming into the game was if Dublin keep Clifford to four or five, we'd be doing well.

"He had two [from play], was involved in assists. Mick Fitzsimons made it difficult for him, no doubt about it, and probably couldn't have done any better.

"He put him under pressure and maybe forced him into a few quicker shots than he would have liked. As we said, one or two of them on another day could have gone over. It was a duel for the ages."


30 July 2023; David Clifford of Kerry and Michael Fitzsimons during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship final match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile


Whelan said that Clifford gets his nod for Footballer of the Year.

"Within Dublin, there's the nostalgia of James McCarthy and everyone wants to get James up the steps, and finish as Player of the Year," said Whelan.


"I'd say if you asked James McCarthy was he Player of the Year, he'd probably tell you, in James's fashion, 'No, I wasn't'.

"Clifford was extremely consistent all year and still made a contribution in all the games. That would be my view. I think Dublin are in a great place to have the nine [time All-Ireland winners], and James McCarthy was excellent, as was Fenton, as was Cluxton. There's probably two of three Dublin players that are very closely in his slipstream.

"It really comes down to the last couple of games. I thought Fenton against Mayo, and against Monaghan, two points when they were under the cosh, and I thought [in the final against Kerry], he was brilliant and really came into his own. Similar to James McCarthy. And then Cluxton's performance. They, for me, were probably the three players, and the three leaders, and three drivers.


"Clifford was consistently very good all year. Even on the day down in Killarney against Mayo, the game they lost, he single-handedly was trying to keep Kerry in that game.

"Listen, I don't think there can be many arguments from a Dublin perspective... Dublin will be happy to get Sam and David Clifford probably deserves his Player of the Year award."

See Also: Paul Flynn Criticised For David Clifford Footballer Of The Year Knock




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