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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019
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St Brendan's boss draws comparisons between Maurice Fitzgerald and 16 year-old Hogan Cup winner

David Clifford was the star for the Killarney outfit on Saturday.

HE STRUCK 2-5 to help St Brendan’s Killarney end their 24-year wait for a Hogan Cup title with his second goal a majestic strike off his left foot.

David Clifford in action against Patrick Turner St Brendan's David Clifford in action against Patrick Turner of St Patrick's on Saturday. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

It was quite a football announcement made on the national stage at Croke Park on Saturday by 16 year-old David Clifford from the Fossa club.

A key member of the St Brendan’s team throughout their march to Saturday’s final, Clifford exploded on the biggest stage and deservedly captured the man-of-the-match award.

St Brendan’s boss Gary McGrath has watched Clifford’s progress and his skill level prompted him to draw comparisons with a Kingdom legend.

“David is 16. He is a phenomenal talent. David Clifford reminds me every day at training of no one else but Maurice Fitzgerald. I can see it in him. I will be killed for saying it.

“That is who he reminds me of. I have said it to people on the quiet. He is a big talent. If he is nurtured and looked after, he has a big career in front of him.”

Clifford got plenty support from Spa player Dara Moynihan who fired 0-4 in attack for St Brendan’s.

Dara Moynihan Dara Moynihan in action for St Brendan's Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“He (David Clifford) and Dara Moynihan are doing their Leaving Cert and so even though they will be underage for next year, they won’t be around.

“They were the two key forwards. Dara’s work-rate was phenomenal. The two of them have a very bright future.”

St Brendan’s may have enjoyed some comfortable successes before this final but when they were faced with a true test on Saturday, they responded.

“Since our quarter-final win over Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, I have been told the same by everybody, ‘ye haven’t been tested, ye haven’t been tested and each game ye have played has been over after 40 minutes’.

“We were relishing a battle, we wanted to be a tight game because we knew the character of the lads. We see it at training all the time.

Jack Doherty and David Naughton Jack Doherty of St Patricks goes up against David Naughton of St Brendans Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

 

“We set a standard for them at training and we expect them to meet that standard, we expect them to stick to the system we give them when we play and they meet all those requirements every time we play.

“The most we were ever down in this game was four points and that was at the start. That gave us a chance. We went in a point down at half-time and it was the first time we trailed at half-time this year.

“We knew we would finish strongly. It was the one thing we wanted all year; for someone to really put it up to us. You can only beat what is put in front of you. St Pat’s are a formidable outfit.”

McGrath articulated the significance of this triumph for St Brendan’s.

“It means so much. Okay, they are saying we haven’t won it in 24 years, but every year you have a new team. Every year you are starting fresh.

Peter McCarthy leads the celebrations for St Brendans St Brendan's players celebrate their triumph Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“The last time we were in the final six years ago, these guys hadn’t even started college. We will go back in September and we will have a new crop of players again.

“It is great for the school. It give huge confidence to the first and second year students. They are looking now at their local heroes which is great.

“The lads are a credit to their clubs, their college. We had great co-operation from the clubs in East Kerry and we have got the ultimate reward today.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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