Tuesday 21 November 2017

Callaghan feared his Lilywhite career was over

Daragh O Conchuir

EAMONN CALLAGHAN has admitted that the long road to recovery from persistent hip and groin problems forced him to contemplate the possibility of never donning the Kildare jersey again.

The 27-year-old Garda has been one of the stars in the Lilywhites’ qualifier odyssey and the injuries are, thankfully, a distant memory.

But it took him some time to find his form when he did eventually return to training last March, after developing the problem that forced him out of last year’s Leinster final.

“Sometimes I thought I might never play for Kildare again,” said Callaghan. “I worked very hard this year to get back into the team.

“It was a pretty serious injury and I was wondering whether I’d get back at all.

“Thankfully, with the lads we have, the two physios and Julie (Davis), who does a lot of rehab work with us, I got back into good shape again.”

The Naas man avoided going under the knife and hasn’t missed a training session since returning to the fold. He has always been a versatile player, lining out in almost every position for Kildare since making his championship debut as a sub in the 2003 Leinster final.

Even at that stage, Dermot Earley was a major player for the county and he is the current team’s spiritual leader on the pitch, along with Johnny Doyle.

Earley is facing a race against time to be fit for the semi-final, but Callaghan insists Kildare will cope.

“Dermot is huge for us on and off the pitch. The thing is, in Kildare we have a very strong squad.

“Obviously, he would be a huge loss for us and hopefully he will be back, but we are fairly confident we do have lads to come in to fill the gap if needed.”

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