David Clifford lands 1-9 to lead East Kerry to third title in four years
David Clifford was at his ease in this Kerry county final in Austin Stack Park, Tralee as he landed 1-9 for a third championship in four years.
ith 14 of their starting 15 All-Ireland medal winners at either senior, minor or junior, East Kerry obviously have a lot of talent to call upon but with David Clifford to ping balls over the top to, as they did all day, one stellar figures stands out above all.
He was sublime, like he is most days he goes out, landing some magnificent scores before capping it all with a great team goal on 45 minutes to push the game beyond any doubt.
Not that there was ever doubt about it. At any stage in the first half it looked like East Kerry could open up their less experienced opponents.
James O’Donoghue probed deep to make openings while Paudie Clifford also played with his head up, spotting movement from David to fire a perfect pass for his brother’s opener, East’s second in the fifth minute.
They were 0-3 to 0-0 ahead on eight minutes and it was the 10th minute before Mid Kerry registered a score, Mike Breen teeing up the adventurous Pa Kilkenny flying off the right wing.
Twice Mid Kerry closed the gap to a point and Kieran Dennehy and Eanna O’Connor, watched by father and All-Ireland winning manager Jack, did threaten.
But all the danger was stacked on the other side and it manifested in the 25th minute when O’Donoghue’s wonderful sliced crossfield pass was met by David Clifford who quickly fed Paudie for a 0-7 to 0-3 lead. That looked ominous.
East Kerry had the best goal opportunity too just two minutes earlier when Darragh Roche broke through only to be denied by Sean Coffey.
By then David Clifford had found his groove, having been on the receiving end of a couple of heavy challenges in the early stages.
They led by 0-9 to 0-5 and opened up a 0-12 to 0-6 lead when David Clifford caught superbly to set up Darragh Roche on 42 minutes.
Coffey had come to the rescue again early in the half to deny O’Donoghue but O’Donoghue’s perfectly weighted pass to Ruairi Murphy was the key to the goal as Paudie provided the final assist.
At the other end Paul Murphy, the winning captain, was rock solid with Cian Gammell and Dan O’Brien providing the support.
East Kerry: D Clifford 1-9, (0-2fs, 0-1m), D Roche 0-3 (1f), P Clifford 0-2, D Lyne, R Murphy 0-1 each.
Mid Kerry: E O’Connor 0-3 (2fs), K Dennehy (1m), F Clifford (2fs) 0-2 each, K Evans, P Kilkenny, G O’Grady all 0-1 each.
East Kerry: S Ryan; C O’Donoghue, J Sherwood, P Warren; C Gammell, P Murphy, D O’Brien; D Lyne, R Buckley; P Clifford, J Lyne, R Murphy; D Clifford, D Roche, J O’Donoghue. Subs: P Darcy for R Murphy (49), D O’Sullivan for J O’Donoghue (52), K Murphy for D Lyne (55), P O’Shea for J Lyne (55), N Donohue for warren (57)
Mid Kerry: S Coffey; P Wrenn, D Mangan, N Breen; P Kilkenny, M Breen, E Clifford; C McGillicuddy, R Murphy; D Houlihan, E O’Connor, K Evans; K Dennehy, L Carey, F Clifford. Subs: S O’Brien for Murphy (h-t), D Roche for Houlihan (h-t), G O’Grady for Wrenn(43), H Hassett for McGillicuddy (49), C Teahan for Carey (56)
Referee: B Griffin (Clounmacon)