Thursday 14 December 2017

Callaghan insists Kildare not short of firepower

Eamonn Callaghan in action for Kildare
Eamonn Callaghan in action for Kildare
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Eamonn Callaghan's injury history means his patience has been sorely tested in the last three years, but it's fair to say the constant questioning of Kildare's strike power nearly tests it more.

"Yeah, we don't have any forwards in Kildare," the Lilywhites' captain quipped sarcastically when the issue of their finishing was raised ahead of Sunday's Leinster quarter-final against Louth.

"No scoring forwards and yet Johnny Doyle was the highest scoring forward in the country over the last 10 years and broke all the scoring records?" he muses.

"We weren't successful in terms of getting trophies in the last six years but we were there or thereabouts," he counters.

"We had forwards there all the time who could score but maybe not 'stand-out' forwards over the years apart from Johnny. Hopefully the young lads coming through now can help."

It certainly wasn't shooting that led to the Lilywhites' relegation from Division 1 this year as they scored 9-110. The problem was they conceded even more (10-112).

What can't be denied is that they've had a seam of talented young forwards coming through in the last two years. Athy's Darroch Mulhall is the most recent to catch the eye emerging as a new leader this season, and not just because he's a free-taker who helps make up for Doyle's retirement.

"Darroch started every game for us which is great for him and hopefully he'll have a chance this summer to show everyone what he can do," Callaghan said.

Another gift from the same club which has proved a rich vein for the Lilies recently is Niall Kelly.

"Niall's very skilful and has a low centre of gravity. Niall stood out last year. He was excellent in the league and for his first year you couldn't ask for any more."

Like Callaghan, Kelly is back after hip surgery and, for the Naas man, he's hopeful it's done the trick, saying: "That's kind of cleared up now but I am not getting too carried away."

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