The Future Is Now For Kerry - David Clifford Set To Make Senior Bow In 2018 League

The Future Is Now For Kerry - David Clifford Set To Make Senior Bow In 2018 League

Not since Joe Canning came out of minor has there been so much hype about a GAA player going into a senior set up.

18 months ago, we were talking about Kerry's David Clifford as the next big thing in Gaelic football. Then he went and just got better and better. Too good, almost, and Kerry nearly lost him to Aussie Rules altogether.

After utterly dominating the Minor Championship for two years, Clifford topped it off by scoring a frankly ridiculous 4-4 in the All-Ireland final against Derry in September.

At just 17 of years of age, Clifford was in a class so far ahead of all his minor contemporaries, it felt ridiculous they were playing at the same level.

Having secured that his future is in Kerry and not Melbourne, the next step in Clifford's development will be for him to test his talents in Eamonn Fitzmaurice's senior team, a team in need of a youthful infusion of energy and talent, having fallen short the the All-Ireland semi final stage for the last two years.

Whether or not Clifford would be parachuted in at such a young age remained a matter of debate in the Kingdom this winter. Some thought he should follow Joe Canning's example and sit out a year, and that the pressure of being "the next big thing" would be no good for a player who undoubtedly have a lot to learn at the very top level. Other want to get the very most of the prodigy and think he'd already make a big impact on a team not that far off All-Ireland success.

Speaking to Newstalk's Off The Ball today, Kerry's U20 manager Jack O'Connor let it be know that, while Kerry won't be throwing Clifford in head first, he will be getting a chance with the senior team in 2018, at least for the Allianz League.


Because of the rules surrounding the new U20 grade in football, players picked in the senior panel for the Championship won't be eligible for the under 20s. With that provision, O'Connor isn't as certain that Clifford's time with the seniors will extend beyond the spring.

O'Connor claims  that where Clifford plays for the Championship is still up for grabs, and he certainly wants him as part of his team.

We had a chat about [Clifford], along with the chairman Tim Murphy, and look, more than anything else I’d love to have David Clifford involved with the under 20s, he could be the difference between us winning it and us not winning it. He’s just a remarkable talent.

The least that he deserves is a go with the Kerry Seniors in the National League. That’ll tell whether he’s up to level or not. He will get to the level but whether he’s up to that level in 2018, has to be seen.

Whether the 18-year-old needs to be thrown into senior Championship at this stage of his career of not remains to be seen, but either way, there'll definitely be an extra buzz about Kerry games in the League this year.

We can't wait.

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Michael McCarthy

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