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23rd Jul 2018

“David Clifford is the first genuine superstar of Gaelic football to come along in a number of years”

Michael Corry

What a weekend that was.

The Super 8s kicked into life as we were treated to some fantastic displays of football during the second round of the group stages.

The four games, played at provincial grounds, each had skill, speed, physicality and heart in abundance and showed fans around the world that Gaelic football is alive and well.

Monaghan and Kerry in Clones was arguably the most intriguing tie of the round as a wounded Kingdom fighting for their championship lives travelled north to take on a Monaghan side with an impeccable home record.

All signs pointed towards a victory for the Farney men, and it looked to be headed that way until the fourth minute of stoppage time. A long, hopeful ball into Kieran Donaghy was touched into the path of David Clifford, and the young Fossa man made no mistake from an acute angle as he scored the goal that ultimately keeps Kerry’s hopes alive, barely.

Monaghan where the better side throughout and looked like they were going to be full value for their first ever win over Kerry in the championship, that was until Clifford’s killer blow.

Much has been said about the 19-year-old. A prodigious talent at minor level, he already has multiple All-Ireland’s in his pocket. His 4-4 against Derry in last year’s minor decider had everyone talking and, much to the delight of the supporters, he was harpooned into the Kingdom senior side this season.

Many thought it may have been too soon, but his performances over the last two weeks in particular have left fans and pundits alike salivating. The young star is truly a sight to behold at senior level already.

Joe Brolly couldn’t wait to highlight the Fossa man’s impact saying:

“This kid Clifford, who I thought was gonna take a while to bed in, he is the first genuine superstar of Gaelic football to come along in a number of years. 1-5 the last day on scraps, 1-3 today.”

His ability to get scores isn’t the only highlight of Clifford’s game. At such an early stage of his senior career his inability to shirk responsibility is something very rarely seen of someone so young.

Brolly highlighted the young star’s maturity beyond his years:

“This kid is six-foot-three or four, we saw what what was happening off the ball to him and he stood up throughout that second half.

“Those Monaghan boys put it on you from start to finish and he stood up to them like a 25 or 26 year old. He’s two footed, he will not be put off his notion, some of the scores he got today on scraps, he wasn’t really entitled to get those.”

Kerry’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals looked all but lost with a minute left on the clock at Clones, but they now head into a home-tie against a Kildare side who are already eliminated and without their talisman Daniel Flynn with a glimmer of hope remaining, and David Clifford deserves huge credit for that.

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