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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 2°C
# the clifford show
David Clifford scores 1-9 as East Kerry crowned county senior champions in Tralee
Mid Kerry lost out by nine points at Austin Stack Park.

East Kerry 1-16

Mid Kerry 0-10

ON THE WEEKEND he was named Footballer of the Year, David Clifford kicked 1-9 in another man of the match performance to lead East Kerry to a third Kerry County SFC title in four years.

david-clifford-celebrates-after-scoring-a-goal Ben Brady / INPHO David Clifford celebrates scoring his goal. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Everything the now four-time All Star winner touched in Austin Stack Park in Tralee turned to gold on an afternoon the pre-competition favourites were emphatic winners against a dogged Mid Kerry team that couldn’t avenge the 2020 county final loss to the same opponent.

Not that there was much doubt about who the winner would be approaching the three-quarter mark, but the result was put to bed in the 45th minute with Clifford’s goal the match defining score, ending any small hope Mid Kerry might have had of a late charge that would have delivered a first title for the district since 2008.

The goal was a highlight in an otherwise fairly mundane contest, such was East Kerry’s dominance from start to finish, and particularly in the second half as they built on a four-point half-time lead.

darragh-roche-celebrates-as-the-east-kerry-team-prepare-for-their-photo Ben Brady / INPHO East Kerry players celebrate their win. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

That four All-Ireland medal winners with Kerry – James O’Donoghue, Jonathan Lyne and the Clifford brothers – were involved in the goal says much about East Kerry’s strength in depth, which they finally exploited to the full after unconvincing quarter-final and semi-final wins.

Ruairi Murphy was involved in the goal too, and the general expectation is that Murphy will be called in for a closer look in the coming weeks, where he will join other East Kerry players already in the county squad.

It was Murphy who got the game’s first score, a fifth minute point, and East Kerry were never behind after that in a contest that bubbled along entertainingly enough, but which never quite took off in the way the 6,000 strong attendance would have hoped for.

East Kerry were three points ahead – David then Paudie raising the flags – before Mid Kerry defender Pa Kilkenny cut a dash forward to kick his team’s first score in the 10th minute.

Eanna O’Connor – son of the watching Kerry manager Jack – cut the deficit to the minimum, and it was 0-4 to 0-3 after 20 minutes before East Kerry started to open their shoulders and at half time they led 0-9 to 0-5, with David Clifford adding three and Dara Roche converting a free as well as being denied a goal after a smart save from Sean Coffey in the Mid Kerry goal.

Coffey was to Mid Kerry’s rescue early in the second half, denying James O’Donoghue with a fine save, but David Clifford points from play and a free pushed East Kerry six clear as an air of inevitability began to descend on the game.

Mid Kerry were still five behind, battling hard to lacking real penetration in the attacking third, and the hammer blow arrived with Clifford’s tap-in goal, a measure – finally – of what this East Kerry team is capable of.

Thereafter the game petered out, with David Clifford embellishing a weekend to remember with three more points to finish with a personal tally more than enough to beat Mid Kerry on its own.

Scorers for East Kerry: David Clifford 1-9 (0-2f, 0-1m), Darragh Roche 0-3 (1f), Paudie Clifford 0-2, Darragh Lyne 0-1, Ruairi Murphy 0-1.

Scorers for Mid Kerry: Eanna O’Connor 0-3 (2f), Kieran Dennehy 0-2 (1m), Fiachra Clifford 0-2 (2f), Pa Kilkenny 0-1, Keith Evans 0-1, Gavan O’Grady 0-1.

East Kerry

Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

Pa Warren (Gneeveguilla), Jack Sherwood (Firies), Chris O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)

Jonathan Lyne (Legion), Paul Murphy (Rathmore), Dan O’Brien (Glenflesk)

Darragh Lyne (Legion), Ronan Buckley (Listry)

Ruairí Murphy (Listry), Paudie Clifford (Fossa), Cian Gammell (Legion)

David Clifford (Fossa), Dara Roche (Glenflesk), James O’Donoghue (Legion)

Subs

Patrick Darcy (Glenflesk) for R Murphy (49)

Dónal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan) for J O’Donoghue (53)

Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin) for J Lyne (56)

Kieran Murphy (Kilcummin) for D Lyne (56)

Niall Donohue (Firies) for P Warren (57)

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Mid Kerry

Sean Coffey (Beaufort)

Pa Wrenn (Milltown/Castlemaine), Nathan Breen (Beaufort), David Mangan (Laune Rangers)

Eoin Clifford (Laune Rangers), Mike Breen (Beaufort), Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh/Glencar)

Colin McGillicuddy (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Ronan Murphy (Beaufort)

Darren Houlihan (Cromane), Eanna O’Connor (Milltown/Castlemaine), Keith Evans (Keel)

Kieran Dennehy (Beaufort), Liam Carey (Beaufort), Fiachra Clifford (Laune Rangers)

Subs

David Roche (Milltown/Castlemaine) for D Houlihan (ht)

Sean O’Brien (Beaufort) for R Murphy (ht)

Gavan O’Grady (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for P Wrenn (43)

Gearoid Hassett (Laune Rangers) for C McGillicuddy (49)

Caolim Teahan (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for L Carey (57)

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Clounmacon)

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