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David Clifford hopeful Kerry can 'go a few steps further' under new management

Kerry star David Clifford has said that Dublin's 'drive for five' All-Ireland's in a row is of little relevance to his side.

The East Kerry attacker said Dublin will only come into the Kingdom's focus when the two sides meet in the league next weekend.

"I suppose Dublin's five-in-a-row isn't exactly top of our agenda at the moment," said Clifford, speaking as Kerry GAA launched a third year of its partnership with Alliance Medica.

“We're playing Dublin in the third league game so I think that's the only time Dublin will come into our focus early on in the year.”

The forward is of the belief that Kerry can "go a few steps further" under new management.

Peter Keane replaced Éamonn Fitzmaurice for the 2019 season and the team have two wins from two in the league so far.

"The regime Eamon had was unbelievable," said Clifford, paying tribute to his former boss. "Every little last detail was thought of. "

"Carrying through onto Peter Keane and the new lads that have come in, it's going to be unbelievable as well.

David Clifford with Alliance Medical at Bon Secours Hospital. Picture: Don MacMonagle

"From what we've seen so far, the work we're putting in is of a very high standard and we're just hoping that we can go a few steps further this year."

Clifford believes Kerry's blend of youth and experience will boost the Kingdom this season, with former minor star Sean O'Shea starring in Sunday's win over Carlow.

"It's unbelievable to have the amount of young players we have mixed with the experienced players so I think it should be a very exciting year ahead for Kerry."

With so much young talent emerging in the Kingdom, Clifford stated the step up to the senior ranks is challenging - saying there is big change in physicality.

"Fellows were bigger and the hits you were getting were a lot tougher," said Clifford.

"The pace was a big step up. Even the atmosphere and things around match day was totally different so nerves and things like that set in a lot more last year than it did in previous years."

Clifford celebrates his goal against Monaghan in 2018. Picture: Sportsfile

He did reveal, however, the need to listen "to my body a bit more".

In 2018, the 20-year-old played three games in the space of a week resulting in a hamstring injury.

It was my first year with Kerry and I wanted to play and playing the Sigerson with Tralee was massive.

So down the line it is something I really have to have to look at and be careful with because it's the last thing players want to do is be injured.

Also speaking at the launch of the Alliance Medica partnership, Kerry County Board Chairman Tim Murphy said it will be an exciting year for Kerry.

"There is a sense of anticipation, of expectation and we are all looking forward to it. The management team is leaving no stone unturned."