WHILE his inter-county career has been cut short because of a knee injury, Ciarán Sheehan has been backed to return and lead his club Éire Óg for the years ahead.
The 30-year-old Cork forward announced recently that he is retiring from inter-county football because of persistent knee injuries.
He suffered his latest knee injury – a torn meniscus – in a Division 2 Football League game against Clare at the end of May and he has been advised to step back from the demands of inter-county football.
‘My knee has got to the point where competing at inter-county level intensity is no longer an option as the long-term health of the knee is at high risk if I continue to play at that level,’ Sheehan told the Irish Examiner.
It’s understood that 2010 All-Ireland winner Sheehan will continue to play with his club – and his Éire Óg team-mate Daniel Goulding, who also soldiered alongside Sheehan with Cork, is backing him to recover from his latest setback.
‘As a footballer and as a person, Ciarán is a very humble and genuine lad, and obviously unbelievably talented,’ Goulding told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘It’s his body that is making him pack up and in some ways that might be a bit easier for him.
‘It’s unfortunate for him, but he has his All-Ireland medal, he has won counties with Éire Óg, he has played in front of 100,000 in Australia in a different sport – he has done it all and he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
‘I’ve no doubt he will manage that knee as best he can and he will play with us again, and that is something to look forward to.
‘At the start of last year when we got back, and before the knee starting giving him trouble, he was flying, he was like the Ciarán of 21 years of age and, please God, we will get to see that again.
‘It’s tough on him but I have no doubt that whatever he does next he’ll thrive and he’ll approach it the same way he has come back from all his injuries.
‘He is mentally very strong. He comes across with this calm and cool exterior but there is this mental toughness in his head. He will play with us again and he will lead us again.’
Sheehan didn’t feature as Éire Óg won the 2020 Cork SAFC final last weekend and the reward for that is a place in the Premier senior ranks and a group that includes West Cork heavyweights Castlehaven, Carbery Rangers and Newcestown. He doesn’t turn 31 until November so the hope is that he has a long career ahead of him in his Éire Óg colours, and his time in the Cork jersey won’t be forgotten either.
An All-Ireland U21 medal winner, he helped Cork win the senior All-Ireland in 2010 and his retirement cuts the link between the current squad and that success as he was the last remaining player still involved today. Sheehan moved to Australia in 2014 and played in the AFL with Carlton Blues, but he returned home and was back playing with Cork in 2020. Unfortunately, a knee injury ruled him out of the 2020 championship and while he impressed in this year’s league campaign, his latest knee injury has forced him to retire from the inter-county game. His retirement is a blow to Cork ahead of the Munster championship as he had shown his worth to the attack in the games against Kildare and Laois.
‘Ciarán’s inter-county career has been cut short and previously interrupted by injury however this does not in any way diminish his talent and the dynamic edge that his play brought to each game,’ county chairman Marc Sheehan said.
‘Ciarán comes from a family steeped in the GAA and his club Éire Óg is rightly proud of his contribution to Cork and I have no doubt the club will be eagerly looking forward to his return to the club scene in the not too distant future.
‘Ciarán is, without doubt, one of the modern game’s role models and his unassuming manner and ever pleasant and affable demeanour sets him apart. I wish him a speedy recovery form his recent injury and salute his endeavours.’