It’s not often I’d disagree with Stormzy but ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’ doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.
For some, major leadership roles can be a burden, a source of turmoil, something to be avoided if at all possible. For others – an elite few – the added responsibility brings out the best in them.
This week David Clifford was nominated by the county champions, East Kerry, to captain the Kerry senior footballers in 2020, instantly singling him out as a leader of the team in an official capacity. By and large the news has been greeted warmly, but some observers have expressed concerns that the new role will put him under unnecessary pressure heading into the new season.
What, more pressure than he has been under since exploding onto the scene four years ago? Clifford the captain will get some extra attention, certainly, but it’s not as though he has been flying under the radar.
The supremely gifted corner forward, who turned 21 on Wednesday, has been marked for greatness from a young age. Such external pressure would cripple many young men, particularly in Kerry where promising footballers are immediately placed under the harshest of spotlights, but the boy from Fossa has never been fazed.
Clifford’s form at schools level for St Brendan’s College piqued interest locally and he was very much a marked man by the time the Hogan Cup final rolled around in April of 2016. The Sem were desperately searching for their first national football title since 1992. How would the 17-year-old fare in Croke Park, with a St Pat’s backline, well-warned of his abilities, ready and waiting, and the hopes of Killarney on his shoulders?
Clifford kicked 2-5 (2-3 from play) in a seven-point victory. Afterwards, his manager, Garry McGrath, an experienced mentor who would be loath to heap unnecessary pressure on one of his young charges, couldn’t help but gush.
“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…”
The online hype machine went into overdrive as highlight videos were shared widely on social media and prominent journalists urged football fans to “remember the name”.
Later that year, all eyes were on Clifford yet again when he lined out (in his bad year) for the Kerry minors in the All-Ireland final against Galway. Yet again he grabbed the limelight, scoring one of the goals of the season as Kerry secured their third All-Ireland on the trot.
12 months down the line, Clifford, now the team’s captain, was tasked with leading the minors to an unprecedented four-in-a-row. Once again, expectations were high heading into the All-Ireland final – Kerry and Clifford were potentially being set up for an ignominious fall – but 12 seconds into the decider, the skipper put the ball in the Derry net. He finished up with 4-4 as Kerry coasted to victory, and the precocious youngster was widely heralded as the greatest minor footballer of all time.
Never in the history of the game had a player graduated to senior level amidst such a whirlwind of hysteria but any questions about his ability to make the grade were quickly answered.
His performances in his debut season in 2018 earned him an All-Star and the Young Player of the Year award – despite Kerry having a poor season overall – and in 2019 he was a key player again as Peter Keane’s men pushed Dublin all the way in the All-Ireland final.
Pressure just doesn’t affect him. Actually, that’s not right. Pressure does affect him, but not in the same way it affects the rest of us. To paraphrase basketballer Earl Boykins, pressure can burst your pipes but it can also make a diamond. So far in his nascent career, intense pressure has only caused David Clifford to sparkle more brightly.
So give him the captaincy. Add him to the management team. Make him Taoiseach. The crown will rest easy on David Clifford’s head.
Pic: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.
Katie celebrates 20 years in business
If you enjoy what you do, sure it’s not work at all – and that has been the case for Katie Hickey who has been in business locally for two decades. For the past 20 years Katie has been successfully running Sheer Beauty which is now located at 1 Hogans Lane (Hillary’s Lane). She […]
If you enjoy what you do, sure it’s not work at all – and that has been the case for Katie Hickey who has been in business locally for two decades.
For the past 20 years Katie has been successfully running Sheer Beauty which is now located at 1 Hogans Lane (Hillary’s Lane).
She said that it was a milestone she felt she may not reach on more than one occasion after coming through a pandemic, a recession, a re-location, and three maternity leaves.
However, she said that the loyalty of her clients over the years have given her great encouragement.
“Sincere thanks to my clients past and present who, without doubt, have been the reason I kept going,” Katie said.
Originally located in Fleming’s Lane for 19 years, Katie then re-located her business to Hogan’s Lane in Norma’s Flair for Hair.
“The beauty industry has evolved so drastically over the past 20 years. For me it is keeping things simple and enjoyable. Realising a client’s needs may not be the treatment itself but the time you give to them. Through the years you get to know your clients so well and some beautiful friendships have developed. I hope my clients have gained from me what I have from them. I have so many people I would like to thank and I will personally, but without doubt my husband Andrew and my family, 20 years in business would not have been achieved.
“ She has remained loyal to the brands she has carried over the years including Lycon Waxing, Aviva Tanning, Shellac and Jessica Manicure and Pedicure.
“I was also delighted to bring on board the fabulous facial range that is Killarney Organic. Killarney has been incredibly kind to me. I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful community. If the past 19 months have proved anything for business it is together we are stronger.”
County Board open to GAA museum proposals
By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]
By Sean Moriarty
The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.
There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.
Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.
His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.
Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.
However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.
“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”
Katie celebrates 20 years in business
If you enjoy what you do, sure it’s not work at all – and that has been the case for...
County Board open to GAA museum proposals
By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build...
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