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26th Jul 2021

“He’s almost flawless” – Paudie Clifford’s performances have drawn comparisons to a certain Kerry legend

Lee Costello

“He is playing like a man with a chip on his shoulder.”

It must be difficult to be the brother of a superstar like David Clifford, not least when you’re actually the older brother, but are only coming into the starting team now, two years later than your younger sibling.

From the beginning of the season the spotlight was on Kerry’s main man David, and rightly so because he was in unbelievable form, completely justifying every ounce of attention that he gets.

However, in the background, on the outskirts and just slightly behind the scenes, brother Paudie was starting to make waves in the Kerry team.

At first it was energy and constant involvement in the game that caught the eye, although that was put partly down to poor opposition, but instead of his form dipping as things got tougher, he has just progressed further and further.

Now, the light is shining on him as he put a MOTM display against Cork in the Munster final and played a vital role in getting Kerry back to an All-Ireland semi-final.

Speaking on the GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson attempts to articulate just how good the eldest of the two Clifford brothers really is.

“Paudie Clifford was head and shoulders above everybody else, he was involved in everything.

“This lad has just gone to another level as a player, because this is a Munster final now. It’s his first year, you’re looking at Clare, you’re making the excuses for that, Tipperary, things like that, this is Cork in a Munster final.

“He destroyed Cork, and he was outstanding the whole way through the game, even when Kerry weren’t going well, he was setting up that goal for David, he got a point himself, in the first quarter he was going really well, when it was a good contest.

“He’s as strong as a bull. Like, he’s as strong as an ox, when you look at it, he’s got everything that Stephen O’Brien has, and I rate Stephen O’Brien highly.

“Stephen O’Brien’s downside is a bit like Kevin McManamon, he plays with the head down, he can’t see the pass.

“He’s everything Stephen O’Brien has, he can take you on, he’s fast, he’s as strong as a bull, but he also, lifts his head up and is incredibly creative and a brilliant kick passer.

“And he can kick points, he’s almost flawless.”

Former Armagh player Aaron Kernan was also on the show, and he drew comparisons between the East Kerry man and a certain retired legend who once played for The Kingdom.

“To me, he’s given this new Kerry team what Paul Galvin gave Kerry back in ’04. I know from reading his book, he was fairly pissed off watching Kerry lose to Armagh in ’02 and Tyrone in ’03.

“Paudie Clifford is probably a similar player in that he’s very, very combative, he’s physically strong, he’s not shirking responsibility in terms of work rate.

“He will take contact if contact is there, but he also has the scoring threat, he has the passing threat, he has the full package.

“He is playing like a man with a chip on his shoulder, maybe over a few things. Maybe he’s a bit browned off that the Dubs are going so well, and he wants to make a stamp in this team.

“He also looks like a man who is saying ‘I should have been here earlier, I should have been playing inter-county football.’

“Maybe someone didn’t have the same belief in him, maybe his game has developed hugely, but I would be very surprised that someone who is as good as he is wasn’t close to it already.

“Even last year, he only got on at the very, very end of the game against Cork and from the first league game this year, he has not dipped in performance at any stage, against anyone.

“There’s only so long you can keep saying that ‘it’s only against such and such, it’s only the league, it’s only against whoever it is in the championship’, it doesn’t matter because he has to have the desire and the energy levels to go out and do what he does.

“He has the class, whether it’s the scores, the passing, his vision and his willingness to back himself in terms of giving a long ball inside, for someone who is – even though he is older than David – still inexperienced at that level.

“He’s absolutely class and has added something completely different to them.”

You can listen to the full discussion on the GAA Hour now!

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