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Kerry great Seamus Moynihan hails 'exceptional talent' David Clifford
Last Updated: 05/02/20 4:29pm
Has Seamus Moynihan ever seen the likes of David Clifford?
"I have - Maurice Fitz and Colm Cooper," said the former Kerry captain, after a moment's thought.
Esteemed company indeed, nonetheless.
There's unprecedented hype around the 21-year-old forward, after he picked up All-Star awards in each of his first two seasons at senior intercounty level.
"They are guys obviously with exactly the same kind of talents," continued Moynihan. "Even to look at, he (Clifford) is fairly similar to Maurice Fitz in his height, in his gait and what not. They were exceptional players as well so if he can tick the boxes the boys have done it'll be fantastic.
"David is a team player and he will always take an opportunity when he gets it. He has a fantastic ability to score with his left leg, he has a good right leg as well, but his ability to spray the ball and give the ball to the right player in the right position - no different to 'Gooch' or Maurice in their day - is exceptional.
"It's fantastic for a 21-year-old to even be compared to the likes of Colm and Maurice Fitz. If he keeps going on the upward curve that he's going it's unbelievable."
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Early indications have suggested captaincy is no burden whatsoever to Clifford. The 21-year-old has kicked 1-9 in the Kingdom's first two league games of 2020, helping the side to a draw with Dublin and a home win over Galway.
"[He has] the leadership qualities and he's not shy," noted the Glenflesk man. "No different to the free-kick the last day against Dublin...he showed those leadership skills to stand up and just slot it over the bar as if he was only taking a point back in Fossa in a training session."
Not many have worked as closely with David Clifford as Moynihan. The former All-Ireland winning captain managed Fossa in recent seasons, and also worked with the current county captain during his spell at the helm of the East Kerry minors.
"I would have seen him with the Sem (St Brendan's College, Killarney)," he recounted.
"Winning the Hogan Cup against Conor Glass' team from Derry (St Patrick's College, Maghera) was a fantastic win that year.
"He got a goal that day that he had no right to get. He should have gone for a point and he put a rocket into the top of the net in the Hill 16 side of the goal, it was a fantastic goal. You could see he had something really, really special and I think he's built on that. He's built on his fitness and he's built on his overall game. He has become a really, really solid guy.
"It's very hard to think he's still only 21 and he's captain of Kerry. But he's an ideal candidate for that too."
"He's an exceptional talent," continued Moynihan.
"The way he dealt with his shoulder injury last year...he did the rehab, he came back, albeit sluggish at the start, but as the year went on you could see he was coming really, really good and by the end of the year he was absolutely flying again.
"That form followed into the latter part of the Championship and into the Kerry county championship as well, where, to be fair, he was unstoppable in the Kerry County Championship, racking up points for fun."
Nonetheless, he knows Clifford's early-season form will county for little if he doesn't back it up later in the year:
"But from David's point of view and from Kerry's point of view, we must only realise it's February and there's absolutely nothing won except Sigersons and a couple of Mickey Mouse competitions in February so David just needs to make sure he continues his good form and you're ultimately judged in Kerry in July for Munster and August now for All-Irelands."