All-Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan felt weight of pressure on Cork return

Sheehan detailed eight different operations he underwent while playing Aussie Rules.
All-Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan felt weight of pressure on Cork return
Benetti Menswear brand ambassador Tomás  Ó Sé is currently hosting a live Q&A series on the Benetti social media platforms. For further information you can find all interviews on the Benetti Menswear YouTube channel or at Benetti.ie. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ciarán Sheehan detailed eight different operations he underwent while playing Aussie Rules. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ciarán Sheehan detailed eight different operations he underwent while playing Aussie Rules. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

All-Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan has admitted he was concerned about the weight of expectation and pressure on him to make his second coming with Cork a success.

The 2010 Sam Maguire Cup winner was snapped up by AFL outfit Carlton in late 2013 and spent six years in total in Australia. His spell Down Under was complicated by a series of injuries and the powerful full-forward compared the constant setbacks to trying to run forward while someone is 'holding onto your jersey'.

Sheehan detailed eight different operations he underwent and described the demanding sport as a 'brutal game in terms of injuries'.

Kerry's Tommy Walsh was similarly affected by serious injuries while playing in the AFL and Sheehan, in conversation with Benetti Menswear ambassador Tomás Ó Sé, said he was conscious that Walsh's initial return from the AFL to Kerry ended with him quitting the panel in frustration in 2016.

Asked about the expectation on him, Sheehan said: "Yeah, I was actually very conscious of that and in particular with Tommy Walsh, the pressure, the expectation, the weight of expectation. Now that might not have been the case for Tommy but I was conscious of it and to be honest everything that came out about Tommy not quite (being at his best)...and Tommy probably had his own reasons in terms of where he's getting to but it did make me conscious.

"When I sat down with Ronan McCarthy, Ronan was excellent in terms of how he approached the whole thing. He said, 'You know, if it doesn't happen straight away, don't worry about it, take your time with it, it may not happen this year and it may not happen next year'. I was comfortable with that as well."

Sheehan, 29, made a solid return to the Cork setup, featuring in four of their five Allianz League games before the Covid-19 shutdown and scoring in all of them, contributing 1-7 in total.

He's keeping his fingers crossed that his injuries are behind him and detailed the extent of his setbacks in Australia.

"There were eight surgeries in total, I had four hip operations, I had three knee operations and I had a foot operation as well," said Sheehan, who made his AFL debut in his first season. "I think one of the lads might have been injured or something but I got in there anyhow, somehow or other, and I ended up playing the last four games (of 2014) and I was looking forward to taking off into a good pre-season for the following year and I had some hip issues.

"I tried injections, I tried all sorts of things to try to get to the playing level and it just didn't work out for me. It was probably the following March or April and they just called it and said, 'Look, you're going to have to have the surgery'. So I went away and had the surgery in both hips, came back for the following year, then had some foot issues.

"Being in the boot for six weeks flared up the hip again so I had to get the hip done again. I came back then the following year and about four VFL games in, the reserve games, I did my knee and tore my hamstring off the bone. That set me back nearly a year and a half.

"It was tough going but it's a brutal game in terms of injuries. A lot of guys go through it. It was just frustrating the fact of knowing you can get there and you can do it and you can compete at that level and it's like someone just holding onto your jersey - you're after the ball but you just can't get there."

Sheehan, a starter and scorer in the 2010 final defeat of Down, said he's energised by the prospect of a knock-out Munster semi-final tie against Kerry later this year.

"I am to be honest with you," he said. "Of course you want to play as much as you can but, again, this is unknown territory for everyone."

Benetti Menswear brand ambassador Tomás  Ó Sé is currently hosting a live Q&A series on the Benetti social media platforms. For further information you can find all interviews on the Benetti Menswear YouTube channel or at Benetti.ie. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Benetti Menswear brand ambassador Tomás  Ó Sé is currently hosting a live Q&A series on the Benetti social media platforms. For further information you can find all interviews on the Benetti Menswear YouTube channel or at Benetti.ie. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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