When Kerry overcame Galway last July, many were left pondering whether David Clifford is already the greatest footballer to ever grace Croke Park on the sport’s biggest day.
Whether or not he is the very best to have won an All-Ireland Senior crown, there is little doubt after Sunday’s tour de force that he is the best to have sealed an All-Ireland Junior Club title.
The Fossa colossus joins a long list of esteemed Kingdom stars to have led their club to the national junior triumph in recent years.
Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil, 2020)
Wexford club Rathgarogue-Cushinstown must have been left double-checking that it was indeed the All-Ireland Junior final, when Kerry midfield pair Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor went to contest the throw-in for Na Gaeil in the 2020 showpiece.
Having led the Tralee club to an All-Ireland title three years ago, the pair since went on to bring Na Gaeil up to the senior ranks in the Kingdom.
Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar, 2017)
Four-time All-Ireland winner with Kerry Darran O’Sullivan was at the tail-end of his career when he arrived to Croke Park with his club, Glenbeigh-Glencar.
O’Sullivan helped the side to a 1-14 to 1-11 final victory over Rock St Patrick’s of Tyrone.
Killian Spillane and Adrian Spillane (Templenoe, 2016)
The rural club have enjoyed stunning success in recent years, reaching the Kerry Senior Club decider in 2022.
They tasted All-Ireland Junior glory seven years ago, as young duo Killian and Adrian Spillane inspired them past Ardnaree Sarsfields of Mayo, 4-13 to 1-9.
Bryan Sheehan (St Mary’s, 2011)
Kerry forward Sheehan rose to the occasion in 2011, as he scored 1-7 in a 14-point victory over Cavan outfit Swanlinbar.
Paul Galvin and Éamonn Fitzmaurice (Finuge, 2005)
Clifford became the second player to win a Footballer of the Year award and an All-Ireland Junior title, following in the footsteps of Paul Galvin.
Interestingly, both Fossa and Finuge defeated the same opponents, Stewartstown Harps in the final.
Galvin and Fitzmaurice were to the fore in 2005, as the North Kerry club ran out 1-14 to 0-6 winners.