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'He makes a fool out of everyone and there’s nothing you can do' - Kerry defender on Clifford magic

Jack Sherwood outlines the tricky challenge involved in marking the Fossa star.

Clifford has made a huge impact on the Kerry attack since his breakthrough to the senior ranks.
Clifford has made a huge impact on the Kerry attack since his breakthrough to the senior ranks.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KERRY DEFENDER JACK Sherwood has offered a glimpse inside the Kingdom camp as he details the tricky task involved in keeping tabs of one of the best forwards in Gaelic football.

David Clifford has made an incredible impact in the Kerry attack since breaking through to the senior ranks. His 2018 exploits resulted in him picking up the Young Footballer of the Year award, and his star continued to shine this year as he was nominated for the accolade again.

He finished the All-Ireland final replay with five points, although Kerry fell short against the five-in-a-row winners Dublin.

Sherwood, who made a substitute appearance in that decider replay, has marked Clifford at training in the past. Keeping pace with the Fossa star is certainly a challenge for any defender, but Sherwood believes that fronting up to players of that calibre is the best way to improve. 

You’re happy out to be marking him I think if you can hold David well enough in training you can back yourself to do a job on many other fellas around the place. He makes a fool out of everyone and there’s nothing you can do.

“He’s playing very well and he amazes you at training sometimes and it’s great to be around him. He’s brilliant he brings everybody else into the games as well.

“He can rub off on fellas and he’s got a great voice, he’ll talk away to the lads so he’s good.”

jack-sherwood Jack Sherwood in action for Kerry in the drawn All-Ireland final against Dublin. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

This weekend, Sherwood and Clifford will link up again as they prepare to line out for the divisional outfit East Kerry in the county final against defending champions Dr Crokes.

East Kerry last captured the Kerry senior crown in 1999, although Sherwood who hails from the Firies club, doesn’t have any strong memories of that time.

He’s hoping to help the side reach the summit of Kerry football again on Sunday to end a 20-year wait, and give East Kerry fans another triumph to look back on in years to come.

“My memories aren’t the best from them, but hopefully we’ll have something from next week to freshen it all up for East Kerry people. 

What have I won with East Kerry before? Zero, nothing. They’ve everything I’ve nothing.”

East Kerry reached the county semi-finals last year, a campaign which Sherwood suspects helped spark the revival of his inter-county career.

The 28-year-old was cut from the Kerry panel before the 2016 championship, which he believed at the time was the end of the road for him. But he was offered a second chance when manager Peter Keane invited him back into the squad for the 2019 season.

“I’d written all that off to be honest,” Sherwood explains.

“I’d no interest I thought it was done. I was happy enough to be playing with East Kerry and the club football so it was grand a different lease of life. 

“You could go and play and take training as it comes and go off then and enjoy yourself as well, but when Peter came calling you can’t say no either, so definitely a wise decision to go back and to be given the opportunity to go back I was very very happy with and it was definitely down to East Kerry’s run last year as well so very grateful for that too.”

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