Kieran McGeeney was delighted to give Dermot Earley a run out on Sunday but the Kildare manager has warned that he will have to work hard for his place in the future.
Earley has not played for Kildare for 19 months after suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury in the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final. Having aggravated the injury last summer he was forced to start the whole process again but his long battle looks to finally be behind him after he made his return in the 2-13 to 2-8 win over Derry in the Allianz Football League.
The Sarsfield man was introduced in the 68th minute and after receiving a rapturous welcome he kicked an injury-time point to seal his comeback.
"He played Friday night and we just wanted to get him back out," said Kildare manager McGeeney.
"We gave him five minutes but he’s gonna’ have to work for his minutes from now on.
"Both him and Mikey Conway have come back. I did [the cruciate] once but to do it twice and be out of football two years and be able to walk out on the pitch is an incredible achievement."