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17th Nov 2023

David Clifford thanks GAA community for supporting his family in powerful interview

Niall McIntyre

David Clifford gave a typically classy interview after winning the PwC footballer of the year award for the second year in a row.

On a night when he also won his fifth All-Star award in six years, the Fossa player was again voted by his peers as the best Gaelic football player in the land.

Clifford now joins greats of the game Brian Fenton and Trevor Giles as two time winners of the GAA/GPA award, with Gaelic football legends Jack O’Shea, James McCartan snr and Jimmy Keaveney having won the earlier Texaco edition on multiple occasions.

The 24-year-old was joined by his brother Paudie and team-mates Tom O’Sullivan and Sean O’Shea on the All-Star team. He defeated fellow nominees Brian Fenton and Brendan Rogers to become the Footballer of the Year.

This was a particularly poignant year for the Clifford family, for David and his brother Paudie having lost their mother Ellen to cancer back in May.

The brothers honoured their mother the next day when they won the Munster title for Kerry, and speaking to Joanne Cantwell at the RDS on Friday night, David thanked his team-mates, his opponents and the entire GAA community for how they rallied around the family on that day and in the aftermath.

“It was obviously very symbolic (Paudie setting him up for a goal) on that day, after mom passing away the day before.

“So look, of course it was nice,” he told Joanne.

“But just the way our own team-mates, our own management team and in fairness to all the Clare lads on that day, the way they kind of put their arms around us.

“It just really felt like a massive GAA community on that day and on the days since so we’re just very thankful of the support our family has gotten since mom passed away,” Clifford continued.

Clifford said that, in comparison to last year when Kerry had won the All-Ireland, this edition of the All-Stars wasn’t quite as special for him and his Kerry team-mates. He referenced his disappointment at losing the All-Ireland final and said that he’s already looking forward to next year, and more immediately, to the season ahead with Fossa.

They compete in the Kerry intermediate football final this Sunday against Milltown Castlemaine.

“Even just seeing the different highlights of it (the All-Ireland final) this evening brings it back up a small bit.

“Look, for me as a forward, when you miss chances like I did, it’s very frustrating and I suppose you can go back and replicate them in training or down in the pitch yourself or whatever, but it’s always a lot easier down there.”

“So look, we’re just hoping to get back to a big day and hopefully we will next year.”

“You’re back in playing club games straight away, so you’re back practicing and back getting ready for those games, so it is good to take a bit of the frustration in some of those games,” he laughed.

“We’ve been very lucky in the last couple of years to be on a great run with Fossa, we’re well aware of the fact that it won’t go on forever. So we’ll just milk it for as long as we have it.”

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