Clifford has been shortlisted alongside two Galway players, Shane Walsh and Cillian McDaid, effectively guaranteeing he picks up the award.
In the past, the presence of more than one player from the newly crowned All-Ireland champions has led to situations where the vote for that county was ‘split’, albeit Clifford has been so far out in front of the other contenders in 2022, the make-up of the rest of the shortlist was unlikely to affect his prospects.
He scored eight points in the All-Ireland final, including three from play and two from towering ‘marks’ as well as 0-6 (1f, 1m) against Dublin in the semi-final.
In all, Clifford finished the championship with 1-21 from four games and scored 1-6 (1f) in Kerry’s league final victory over Mayo, ensuring a fourth All-Star award in just his fifth senior season with Kerry and, in all likelihood now, a first Footballer of the Year award.
The three nominees will be put to a vote of players, along with the choice of this year’s Young Footballer of the Year.
Dublin’s Lee Gannon, Ethan Doherty of Derry and Galway defender Jack Glynn make up the three-man shortlist for that honour, which now comprises players who have turned 22 in the current year or younger.
Only two players eligible for that award, Gannon and Doherty, are nominated for All-Stars.
Kerry lead the way with a dozen nominees, including their entire defence and goalkeeper in a season when they conceded just a single championship goal and two in the league.
Of their All-Ireland final starting 15 that played Galway, the three players not included on the 45-man list are David Moran, Diarmuid O’Connor and Paul Geaney.
Galway have eight nominees, a figure consistent with beaten finalists of recent years, while Dublin have six, one more than last year when they lost at the same semi-final stage.
Derry, who won an epic Ulster Championship by taking out Tyrone, Donegal, and Monaghan, have seven, all of whom are first-time nominees.
In all, 11 counties are represented among the 45 names, with Clare, Kildare, Monaghan and Mayo each contributing one player apiece.
This year’s hurling nominees will be revealed tomorrow.
PwC All-Stars Football Nominations 2022
Goalkeepers – Ethan Rafferty (Armagh), Shane Ryan (Kerry), Evan Comerford (Dublin)
Defenders –Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Graham O’Sullivan, Tom O’Sullivan, Gavin White (all Kerry); Liam Silke, Seán Kelly, John Daly (all Galway); Chrissy McKaigue, Conor McCluskey, Brendan Rogers (all Derry); James McCarthy, Lee Gannon (both Dublin); Lee Keegan (Mayo); Jarlath Óg Burns (Armagh); Seán Powter (Cork); Cian Sheehan (Limerick)
Midfielders –Paul Conroy, Cillian McDaid (both Galway); Conor Glass, Gareth McKinless (both Derry); Brian Fenton (Dublin); Jack Barry (Kerry)
Forwards –David Clifford, Seán O’Shea, Paudie Clifford, Stephen O’Brien (all Kerry); Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, Robert Finnerty (all Galway); Rian O’Neill, Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan (all Armagh); Ciarán Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan (both Dublin); Shane McGuigan, Ethan Doherty (both Derry); Ben McCormack (Kildare); Eoin Cleary (Clare); Stephen Sherlock (Cork); Jack McCarron (Monaghan)
PwC GAA/GPA FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR –David Clifford (Kerry); Cillian McDaid, Shane Walsh (both Galway)
PwC GAA/GPA YOUNG FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR –Lee Gannon (Dublin); Ethan Doherty (Derry); Jack Glynn (Galway)