Ciaran Sheehan’s inclusion in the Cork senior footballers’ plans is “a win all day long”, according to manager Ronan McCarthy, who says the Éire Óg clubman had “awful lot to offer”.
Sheehan, a 2010 All-Ireland senior football medallist, recently returned to Cork after playing for Aussie Rules side Carlton.
“I spoke to Ciaran a number of weeks ago and it was our intention, and his intention, for him to join up again with the Cork footballers,” said McCarthy.
“He has a huge passion and desire still to play for the Cork senior footballers and I think he’ll add a lot to us in every element. He has an awful lot to offer in terms of his playing ability but also in terms of our preparation, he’ll add to the standards in the set-up.
“It was always our intention, as soon as Ciaran came back, to invite him back in and we’re delighted to have him.”
McCarty acknowledged the nous that Sheehan will bring in terms of professional preparation but also said he is returning “as a player in his own right”.
“It’ll be important to give Ciaran time to adapt again, and we’re not talking even about one season in that sense, if it takes longer than that, then it takes longer.
“He’s a top-quality person, first of all, a top-quality player, and he’s a good age for the group that we have at the moment. He was a top player when he went out and with a bit of time and patience, I think he can get back to those levels again.
“Certainly in terms of preparation and so on he can’t but raise standards within the group. I think it’s a win all day long for us.”
McCarthy was speaking at the relaunch of Cairde Chorcai, the Cork GAA fundraising group, and the event was attended by members of the Cork minor and U20 All-Ireland-winning teams. The senior boss cautioned against expecting too much too soon from those promising underage players.
“There’s no question that there’s real quality, exciting players, in those squads, but you have to take your time. It’s a big step up - it was a big step up from U21 to senior, never mind U20.
“But a player like Liam O’Donovan came through last year to the senior ranks, so it's not like we’d be closed off to that prospect, it’s just that you have to look at the bigger picture. The medium- and long-term development of the player is very important.
“We’ll invite players in to train with the (senior) group and if someone can make that step up we won’t be slow to use them, but in general we’ll have to take it steady.”