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Joe Brolly Sums Up The Difference Between Final Performances Of David Clifford & Shane Walsh

Joe Brolly Sums Up The Difference Between Final Performances Of David Clifford & Shane Walsh
By Gary Connaughton Updated

Kerry were fully deserving of their victory in yesterday's All-Ireland final. While they were a bit wasteful in the opening half, there was no doubt that they had more quality when the game reached a decisive stage late on. It helped to have David Clifford on your side.

The Fossa man put in an incredible personal display, scoring 0-8 and dominating in every aspect of the contest.

Of course, he was not the only man to show up on the big occasion. Shane Walsh put in an equally impressive performance for Galway, scoring 0-9 points in one of the best losing efforts you are ever likely to see.

They were the two contenders for the man-of-the-match award last night, with the Kerry man ultimately getting the nod on the back of his team lifting the Sam Maguire. However, many have gone on to argue that Walsh actually produced the more eye-catching form over the 70 minutes of action.


Read also: Pat Spillane Reveals Adrian Spillane's All-Ireland Tribute To His Late Dad

Read also: Pádraic Joyce Rages Over 'Crucial' Late Free Given To Kerry

Joe Brolly compares David Clifford and Shane Walsh

You could certainly make an argument for either man on the day, although Joe Brolly feels the right decision was made.

Speaking on The Throw-In podcast, the Derry legend said that both Clifford and Walsh put in incredible displays. However, he feels that it was the more well-rounded approach of the Kerry man that ultimately made the difference between the sides.

The comparison I gave for Shane Walsh was that he was like a kid in the back garden. He just plays, he's so creative and imaginative, you don't know what's going to happen next.

Yesterday he reminded me of George Best, he was beating a player multiple times, the casual brilliance of it. An excellent defender was absolutely bewildered by him, his effortless excellence off the left and right foot, his pace, and understanding at what was going on around him...

Whenever you've got attack play like this, defending is redundant.

You've got to remember, when I was playing someone like Shane Walsh or David Clifford was going out man-to-man. The defender sank or swam, that was it.

You look at the performances yesterday. Walsh's was brilliant, but Clifford's was definitive.

The thing about Clifford is that he's a physical brute as well. Whatever way you want to play it, he will play it. His two marks were extraordinary, the second one was like Kieran Donaghy and the 'Bomber' Liston.

He has got every single thing going there, including that bewildering close control. His balance is brilliant.

He scored a point yesterday, I think it was his fourth point, the ball was coming in from the 45 and the ball was laid off to him, he immediately popped it over the bar without even a back-lift, under huge pressure. The defender had to check if it was gone over the bar, it was just gone before he even came in.

Whatever about the those two individuals, it seemed clear that Kerry managed to get more out of their other forwards in comparison to Galway. Whereas Stephen O'Brien, Paudie Clifford, and Killian Spillane all had an impact in the second half, the likes of Damien Comer and Robert Finnerty failed to trouble the opposition defenders.

Despite this, Joe Brolly believes that Kerry would not be All-Ireland champions were it not for David Clifford. He also hinted that the Fossa man's performance in the loss to Tyrone last year was actually better than Walsh's yesterday.


The most crucial factor, and the factor without which Kerry would not be All-Ireland champions, was David Clifford.

Clifford has really dominated Gaelic football for the last couple of years. He basically played Tyrone on his own last year as well, I think it was the greatest performance I've ever seen in a losing cause.

There are fine margins in and around everything else that is happening, but even accounting for the glorious minor teams that Kerry have had, with Clifford they wouldn't be All-Ireland champions.

At 23-years old, this was David Clifford's first All-Ireland win. You certainly get the sense it won't be his last.

Yet another All-Star award is certain to follow in the months ahead, while he also looks like a shoe-in for a first Footballer of the Year gong.

As for Shane Walsh, he will now regroup and attempt to lead Galway back to the biggest stage for another crack at Sam Maguire in 2023.

SEE ALSO: The 16 Best Ever Performances By A Player On A Losing Team

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