Acheson, who skippered the Premier County during a glorious run to last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals, says that he’s “very settled” and enjoying a new life in Dubai, where he’s working as the region’s operations manager for water engineering company Hydroserv.
Speaking from the Middle East last night, Acheson has ruled out a return for the 2017 Championship and doesn’t know if he’ll be back next year either. In a telling tweet he released on his 27th birthday recently (March 15), Acheson said: “Birthday on the beach in Dubai. I love GAA and playing GAA but it can blind you to life. You have to live too.”
Expanding on his feelings, Acheson said: “I’d been away to America for two or three summers but I was still playing for seven or eight months of the year.
“Stepping back from it totally is a strange feeling. I wouldn’t say it (football) takes over your life but you’re thinking about nothing else but football and playing.
“There’s no pressure here, I wouldn’t say you’re free but when you’re playing at county level at home, you’re expected to do this and that. It’s a little bit different, life comes first and football after that. I loved my seven or eight years with Tipp. I don’t know if I’m finished or not but it’s nice to take a year out and have a break.”
When asked if he is contemplating a return for the 2018 campaign, when Tipp will play their football in Division 2 of the Allianz League, Acheson said: “It’s a tough one, it’s April 2017 now but if things keep going the way they’re going, I don’t think I’ll be back in 2018 either.
“I have eight or nine months to decide that. We’ll see closer to the time but I’m really happy here, work is going well, life is going well.”
When he arrived in Dubai last year, Acheson joined up with the Jumeirah Gaels, formed in March 2015.
Jumeirah Gaels won the junior championship prior to Acheson’s arrival and he helped them to Middle East intermediate glory three weeks ago. Acheson also plays soccer for Dubai Irish and along with girlfriend Róisín, they have fitted in seamlessly with the local Irish community.
He explained: “There was a competition the week after I got here and I met 50 lads straight away, and another 50 lads with the soccer team. The Irish community is brilliant and we’ve made some great friends. Róisín has family here too, we have plenty of visitors and we’re settled.”
Tipperary manager Liam Kearns has held out hope that Acheson would play some part in the 2017 season. But the 2007 All-Ireland minor hurling winner said: “Definitely not. I don’t think it would be fair even if I did swoop in for the summer time and play. Now that things are going so well, that made my mind up for me.”
But as the Tipp footballers prepare to grace Croke Park on Saturday for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Mayo, in the Allianz Division 3 final against Louth, Acheson admits that he would love to be involved, if even for one day.
“It’s hard to have everything. In an ideal world, I could have this and play football but it doesn’t work out like that. I’d give my left arm to be there on Saturday.” I’ll miss that but it’s one of those things.”