Clifford on pressure of captain role and Kerry duo set to miss league

David Clifford was named Kerry captain last night.

The new Kerry skipper.
The new Kerry skipper.
Image: Kerry GAA

DAVID CLIFFORD SAYS not much will change in the Kerry dressing room following his appointment as captain for 2020, while influential pair David Moran and Peter Crowley are set to miss the forthcoming league campaign.

Peter Keane says Moran will miss most of the competition after he underwent a minor knee operation during the off-season. Peter Crowley won’t return until the championship as he continues his recovery following cruciate surgery last summer. 

Clifford, meanwhile, becomes the first East Kerry player since Seamus Moynihan in 2000 to be nominated as Kingdom skipper and the first ever Fossa player to do so.

The announcement was made last night that the Tralee IT student, who turns 21 tomorrow, will lead the Munster champions after being nominated by East Kerry clubs.

He will be officially ratified at a county committee meeting next Monday in Tralee.

“It’s a great honour and I am very thankful to my East Kerry team-mates first and foremost for getting us over the line in last year’s county championship,” he said.

“It’s a great honour for me and it’s a great honour for my club Fossa and my family so I am thrilled.”

Clifford previously captained the Kerry minors to All-Ireland glory in 2017 and has won All-Stars in each of his two seasons at senior level.

“I have been captain before and there is not a whole pile involved in it to be honest,” he continued.

“There are obviously very powerful leaders in our dressing room anyway and they will keep doing what they are doing so it’s not going to change very much I would not think.”

Kerry boss Keane, who handed the youngster minor captaincy three years ago, said: “Specifically it’s a huge honour for David himself and for his Dad and Mom, Dermot and Ellen so it’s a huge thing for David and his family.

“It’s a great honour historically for it to be bestowed on anybody to become captain of Kerry. From my own perspective, he is a member of the team and it’s about the team and we will be treating it accordingly.”

david-clifford-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Clifford celebrates after netting a goal in the county final. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The appointment of Clifford at his age sparked fears around the pressure being placed on his young shoulders.

“Yes that is always something that you would have to consider and worry about especially with a young man but that is the system we have in Kerry in this moment in time,” admitted Keane.

“I know there are hopes to change that in time as it is something that has been handed down to a young player and that has been the case for the last number of years. That is something that I cannot control and all I can do is wish him the best with it.

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“He has great temperament and that is probably the best way I can describe him and things rest lightly on his shoulder which is a great trait for any person to have, no matter what age they are.

“So I would suggest that temperament is his outstanding quality so that will I am sure be an outstanding trait of his captaincy.”

Plans are afoot in Kerry to change the traditional system of handing the captaincy to a player from the county champions.

At Monday’s county committee meeting, the Beaufort club are bringing forward a motion that could change that system from 2021.

The motion states that the “captain of the Kerry senior hurling and football teams shall be selected by the team management in consultation with the chairman of the Kerry county committee.”

–Additional reporting by Murt Murphy

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Kevin O'Brien

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