Ronan McCarthy: Ciarán Sheehan return was never really a runner

Ciarán Sheehan with the Ireland International Rules team in Perth in November.

Cork football coach Ronan McCarthy says there was never any likelihood of Ciarán Sheehan returning to the Rebels fold for the coming season.

Sheehan, an All-Ireland medal winner in 2010, has not had his contract with AFL side Carlton renewed and was at home in Farran for Christmas, leading to speculation he might don the red jersey again.

However, it was revealed yesterday that he is to return to Melbourne, most likely to take up a role with the AFL Players’ Association while playing for Avondale Heights in the Essendon District Football League.

McCarthy, who will take charge of Cork for the first time when they travel to take on Waterford in the McGrath Cup in Fraher Field on Sunday, admits that a return for the Éire Óg man was not really a runner.

“The word was that he was heading back, in the short term at least,” he said.

“It wasn’t something that was broached. Maybe it’s a prospect for further down the line.”

Sheehan joined Carlton at the end of 2013 and played for the club and its Victoria Football League affiliate Northern Blues, though he suffered ill-fortune with injuries.

He will remain involved in the sport, providing back-up to former players.

“I’m after applying for a job with the AFL Players’ Association and it’s looking likely that’ll be my position for the year ahead,” Sheehan said in an interview with the42.ie.

“It’s an alumni programme co-ordinator, so basically it will involve working with past players and basically outlining the support services that the AFL PA gives to these past players. It’s a player welfare-based role.

“A big factor is that [his fiancée] Amy had progressed in her career. She had sacrificed a lot to come out with me originally. Now she’s in a really good position career-wise. You have to think about the two of us rather than getting selfish and me coming back home to play GAA.

“It’s a decision for the two of us. I’m pretty excited about the move back and getting to experience the city from a different view. We both love the country and the lifestyle.”

Sheehan isn’t averse to the idea of coming back at some stage, though.

“I wouldn’t be ruling out anything GAA-wise down the road,” he said.

“I’m just going to see how this year goes in 2018 on and off the pitch. Then we’ll see after that and figure out what we’re going to do.

“I don’t regret anything from my experience in Australia and deciding to move out there. I’d a lot of injuries alright but I’d some great experiences and got to meet so many great people. There’s been plenty ups and downs but I learned so much from it.”


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