FORMER Kildare footballer Eamonn Callaghan hopes that the Lilywhites show “a bit of fight” when they take on Armagh in round three of the National League at Netwatch Cullen Park this Sunday afternoon.
Glenn Ryan’s side have started the season in terrible form having already lost to Ulster opponents Cavan and Fermanagh and currently sit joint bottom of the Division Two league table with Cork.
But Callaghan, who is currently coaching Carlow, hopes that his native county can turn things around with an improved performance, even if that doesn’t lead to victory on the day.
“From a Kildare point of view, you would just want to see a reaction, that they’re willing to go and fight and that there’s still a bit of fight in them and that they’re going to go and really put it up to Armagh,” said Callaghan, who retired from inter-county football in 2018.
“Their backs are against the wall now, it’s nearly a must win game for Kildare. No matter what the result is, coming out of the game on Sunday, you would just like to see improvements and that they’re really going after the game.
“You hope there’s that bit of a fight in them and that they want to turn it around and I think that even if they lose on Sunday, but the performance is there and the attitude is right, I think Kildare will be okay.
“There are three games in three week’s now and they’re not going to get promoted on Sunday and they’re not going to get relegated on Sunday so there’s still massive games ahead. I think if the attitude is right, and the performance is there then they’ll give Armagh a good rattle.
“From a Kildare perspective that’s all you’d be hoping for, that they really get a performance because it’s going to be really tough. This game couldn’t have happened at a worse time for them, but you never know with Kildare, they tend to surprise you when you least expect it.”
Callaghan spent six seasons working under current Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney during his stint with Kildare, when they reached the All-Ireland semi-final in 2010 and claimed the Division Two league title in 2012.
The Nass clubman praised Geezer’s impact during his time involved with the Leinster County, from 2008-2013, when they qualified for the last eight in the race for Sam Maguire five times in six seasons.
“The intensity he brought to training and the training we did, we’d never really experienced it before, it was tough,” recalled Callaghan. “It was a different mindset, a different level of work rate, a different level of discipline, commitment, everything.
“It was just a level of professionalism across the board, and he demanded a lot of us but in fairness, I think the Kildare players at that time did buy into it and we gave it everything.
“We started picking up results and getting to All-Ireland quarter-finals which we’d never been to before. From where we were before he came in, to do that in six years was some achievement.”