Kildare manager Cian O'Neill described himself as 'blown away' at the fact that veteran attacker Eamonn Callaghan was willing to tog out for his county's first round O'Byrne Cup game against Longford this afternoon, despite the fact that he was only back in Ireland a number of hours following his honeymoon.
The Naas man arrived home from his two week stint in Florida with his new wife just four hours before throw-in for the clash with the reigning O'Byrne Cup champions, but he was eager to get a run out with the Lilywhites, and his presence gave O'Neill a timely boost.
Through injuries, players being away with colleges and various other problems, O'Neill had only 20 fit players ahead of the clash with Longford. He was both surprised and delighted to get word from Leper, who ended up coming on for David Slattery late on as a blood substitute.
"What can I say about Eamonn Callaghan?", exclaimed O'Neill.
"The man came back from his honeymoon four hours before we met and text me last night to say 'my foot feels well, do you mind if I just warm up and get a run out?' I said absolutely, and he looked good in the warm up and we literally didn't have 21 players for a blood sub if we needed it. I had a black card in my head, and not blood sub. I said if we get a black card, would you be ready to stand in if just to stop a short kickout? David Slattery gets his nose bust and he was ready to step up," he continued.
Callaghan almost signalled his arrival onto the field with a fine point from distance, but his effort tailed to the left and wide. O'Neill said that would have capped off a lovely story perfectly, but he wants some of the other players to learn from the dedication that the Naas man is evidently putting in.
"The lads need to learn from that. That man sent me a text last night before he jumped on a flight 4000 miles away to say he'd be ready and it just blew me away. I'm just raging that kick he had didn't go over the bar. It'd be a beautiful story."
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