Although Kildare lost the services of Dermot Earley over the weekend, there is better news on the injury front, particularly with Daryl Flynn having come through a full game for Moorefield in the recent club championship.
“Daryl is getting closer and it was great to see him getting that run out because he is a good player. It’s obviously been a very frustrating time for him but he is getting back to where he wants to be,” said Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney.
Another player close to full fitness is Eamonn Callaghan. Unlike Flynn and Callaghan, Seanie Johnston and Eoin Doyle weren’t able to tog out for their clubs in the championship but McGeeney is hopeful that the pair will be fit to face Offaly.
“Eoin went over on his ankle in the recent challenge game against Galway but was back doing a wee bit of running last week. Seanie’s hamstring has been at him but we’re hoping that he will be able to get back to doing something this week but it might be the end of this week before he is back. They should be ok.”
McGeeney had suggested in the aftermath of the defeat against Tyrone in the recent league semi-final that the squad would be trimmed ahead of the championship but that is unlikely to be the case now.
“You’d love to have a panel of 31, at the moment we have around 35 but since the league semi-final we haven’t been able to play a 15 a side game because there are always knocks and bangs. The Tuesday after the club championship we only had 22 training so that just shows you. By the Thursday it was back up to 27 but that’s the way things go,” he said.
Kildare have been in the rather unorthodox position this year of swapping the captaincy around the team during the league and the likes of Peter Kelly, Padraig O’Neill and Gary White have all led the team out while Mikey Conway lifted the O’Byrne Cup back in January. McGeeney has settled on who will lead the team during the championship but is playing his cards close to his chest.
“I have decided but I’ll announce it later,” he said.
The manager and squad were at Hawkfield last Friday night as part of a meet and greet with supporters. It was the last time that many will see the squad before the Offaly because although Kildare will be involved in challenge games before then, they will be behind doors, at the request of their opponents.
“We have games lined up but the teams we are playing against have asked for them to be in-house so they will be behind closed doors.”
The Lilies play Roscommon this week while the Hawkeye point detection system will be in place at CrokePark when Kildare take on Offaly in the Leinster quarter final on 1 June.