Unpaid leave fast-tracked my recovery – Callaghan
Newly appointed Kildare captain Eamonn Callaghan has revealed how he has taken three months' unpaid leave from his occupation as a garda to fast-track his recovery from injury.
Callaghan underwent surgery twice last year for groin trouble, once in Philadelphia in June and again in Dublin in November.
And to aid his recovery, the 30-year-old from Naas opted to take leave from work so he could concentrate on his football.
The move serves to illustrate the depth of commitment that exists in Kildare as they make a push for their first Leinster title in 13 years.
Callaghan said the decision to take the unpaid leave was a "no-brainer".
"With the injury, I wanted to give it every possible chance for me to get back, to get back to where I was. There was an opportunity in work to take three months off unpaid," he revealed.
"I took a bit of time to think about it and it was a no-brainer really. It's taken in phases, so I took the month of February off. I've been off pretty much the last six weeks and I have another two weeks to take in June."
The time away from shift work as a garda in Lucan allows Callaghan to train and recover sufficiently in his attempt to catch up on missed time over the last few seasons.
"You only live once is the way I look at it. I don't have too many more years left so I just wanted to, while I can, give it everything I could," said Callaghan.
"I wouldn't have been able to get back anywhere near as quick as I have without it."
Callaghan, appointed captain in succession to Johnny Doyle last week, said he was pretty much training full-time during his time away.
"I was able to do my rehab and recovery with the injury after training, which was massive. The recovery part of it was the problem, doing shift work on top of training was hard. Thankfully, the job was flexible," he said.
"With the intensity we train, I wasn't able to do a whole lot extra, but I was looking after my body. I was able to do pool sessions, go for a cycle and recover from training sessions more so than getting myself fitter. That was a huge help."
He admitted it would be a "travesty" for the Kildare players if they failed to win a Leinster title.
"I think for a county like Kildare... we have been so close the last few years, it'll be a travesty if we don't win a Leinster title. I'm 100pc confident that we can," he said.