Ciarán Sheehan’s future? It’s certain. Next Christmas, he will wed his long-time love, Amy Hartnett. Melbourne may now be their home but they’ll come home to tie the knot.
He describes her as “the rock” of the relationship. There have been many trying times for her fiancé, who turns 27 tomorrow, but when they took the leap to Carlton four years ago they took it together.
Now that his time with the club is over after four injury-riddled seasons, it’s her career that must be considered also having progressed up the ranks in National Australia Bank.
New Cork boss Ronan McCarthy would love to have Sheehan featuring in his forward line next year but there is plenty to consider.
“I’m seeing what might happen, what opportunities might arise. I’m still not sure if I’m going to stay out here or if we’re going to go back home. We’ve had a great four years. We really love Melbourne so we’re just kind of weighing up our options. I’m sure the right opportunity will arise in the next couple of months.
“We’ve been on this journey together for the last four years. The next step is important in what she wants to do. It’s an exciting time, I think, for both of us. It’s the next step. Whatever that might, it’s a bit unknown at the moment but we’re excited to make a move.”
He doesn’t regard his late call-up to the Ireland International Rules panel for today’s second test in Perth as an opportunity to put himself front and centre to attract another AFL club. He is taking the experience on its own merits having previously played in the 2013 series. He feels revitalised after his recent break, his body better than it has been in recent times.
“I’ve had a fair few setbacks. I’ve had six operations in the last two and a half years so it’s been very much an up and down career. “I’ve had three hip surgeries, two knee surgeries and a fairly badly broken nose this year. The hips gave me a lot of trouble early on. In my first year, I had a great start and I played four games. I ran into some hip trouble pre-season my following year. I tried to rehab and get it back right but I ended up having to go for surgery halfway through the year. Both hips ruled me out for the year.
“I was fit and ready for the next season but a couple of months in I had a stress fracture reaction in my foot so went into a boot and that flared up my hip which meant I had to get that done again. I got back midway through that year but then tore my lateral ligament and hamstring as well — that put me out for another six or seven months.
“Then I got back this year and I had a pretty clean run aside from that broken nose. I had a meniscus repaired at the end of the year. There’s been a lot of interesting moments throughout my career so far but, you know what, it’s been a huge experience and I’ve learned a lot about myself as a player and a person. It’s been quite an up and down trip.”
How has he managed to stay positive? He’s had help. As well as Amy, there’s been his former Carlton team-mate Zach Tuohy and the Carlton player leadership group and coaches.
“There were some difficult moments and I think anyone that has been through any serious injuries understands that. It’s how you react to it and how dedicated you are to get back that is always the driving force.”
He and Amy go home for Christmas to see family and friends and to begin the preparations for their wedding. If McCarthy hasn’t begun his charm offensive on Sheehan already it will undoubtedly escalate then.
“I worked with Ronan — he was a selector with Conor (Counihan) when I was there for a year. I really enjoyed him when he was there. His knowledge of the game is really good. He’s great man-management skills as well, which is great for this bunch of lads particularly the way they’re growing. They’re a pretty young group but if you can get the gel right I think that will move Cork football in the right direction. He’s the right man for the job.”
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