Sheehan focused on final as AFL chance drops to the bench

CIARÁN SHEEHAN insists he is firmly focused on his involvement with the Cork footballers ahead of next week’s All-Ireland final despite continuing to be uncertain about whether he will commit to an AFL career with Carlton later this year.

Sheehan, who recently returned from a four-week trial with Carlton, signed a two-year contract with the club but is not under obligation to return in November to fulfil it.

“At the moment it is still up in the air. I am a bit of a home bird and I am slightly leaning towards home. The red jersey is keeping me here. Then again the opportunity is on the horizon and I have to see how that goes. At the moment all the focus is with the lads and there is no concentration on anything else. I suppose it is getting the head down now. Being with the lads is super and they welcomed me in so well. I have settled in now and all the focus is on the All-Ireland.

“As a kid I always imagined coming up and playing for Cork. Then Carlton kind of cut across the dream. But the experience had to be done. I had to go over and see what it was like. Maybe the four weeks told me a lot too. Obviously it is a great opportunity but then again wearing the red jersey is something I have always wanted to do. It is still 50-50 at the moment.

“They have college and all that sorted out if I was to go over. But then again college is something I always wanted do. I am going to CIT, starting next Monday, doing services engineering. Maybe that is holding me back a bit as well.”

Sheehan revealed that the training with Carlton was of similar intensity levels to Cork’s, but that the gym work proved more difficult. Cork teammate Michael Shields briefed him beforehand about what was in store, yet Sheehan has yet to encounter Ireland’s most successful export to the AFL, Tadhg Kennelly who he will be in opposition for Kerry on Sunday week.

“The intensity is pretty level. It was coming to the end of their season over there and maybe they were easing back a little bit. The gym work was that bit harder. Michael gave me a bit of advice, he is always good to go to. He gave proper advice and was straight out, no messing about from him. Then I was with Setanta for most of it over there. He would be a good buddy of mine now. We got on well and watched all the Cork games over. I haven’t seen Tadhg Kennelly yet. We will wait until after the final for that!”

All-Ireland U21 medal winner Sheehan has yet to feature in senior championship action for Cork, but is heartened by Cork boss Conor Counihan’s policy of introducing young talent into the senior setup.

“I missed out on a lot of training with the four weeks away. It is tough coming back into a squad that is so strong. But Conor did say places are up for grabs and I think everyone is playing for their position at the moment.

“He is focusing big time on youth and the upbringing of these guys to the senior squad. Colm O’Neill getting a place this year is a sign for the future. While the likes of Aidan Walsh and Noel Galvin coming in this year shows it as well. I would have no complaints if I wasn’t picked.

“Not being around has put me back, but even just to be playing with the lads is an honour.

“Everyone has been really good. They have understood that I have been away for four weeks and playing a totally different sport. They were laid back about it, there was no bones about it or being negative about it.”

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