Ciaran Sheehan has confirmed that he will not be returning to Cork to play Gaelic football this year.
The 2010 All-Ireland winner with the Rebels was released by AFL side Carlton Blues in October, having signed for the club in 2013. This naturally generated speculation that Sheehan could return to Ireland in order to rejoin his club Éire Óg and the Cork footballers.
What an amazing experience these last 4 years have been! Thanks very much to @carltonfc and @northernbluesfc for giving me this opportunity! Great to experience being a professional athlete..didn’t get to where I wanted to go this time but thanks for all the support👍 #newchapter pic.twitter.com/o17D1rxE7b
— Ciaran Sheehan (@Gussyman90) December 17, 2017
However, he has told the42 that he will be staying on in Melbourne for the year ahead, having applied to take up a role working with the AFL Players’ Association after weighing up his options following his release and subsequent ending of his career as a professional Australian Rules player.
“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.”
“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,” he said.
Sheehan also disclosed the personal factors which went into his decision to remain in Australia rather than return to Cork, having recently engaged his partner.
“A big factor is that 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,” he admitted.
Sheehan’s four-year tenure with Carlton didn’t run as smoothly as he would have wished as a result of a luckless string of injuries. He ended up featuring more for Carlton’s Victorian Football League affiliate, Northern Blues.
He revealed that he intends to continue playing Australian Rules at a non-professional level, having signed for Avondale Heights, who are based in Melbourne, where Sheehan lives.
Although this news will come as a blow to Cork and their new manager Ronan McCarthy, as a fit, 27-year-old Sheehan undoubtedly still has plenty to offer the Rebels in attack, the Ovens native refused to rule out a rerun to Ireland, and GAA, in the future.
“I wouldn’t be ruling out anything GAA wise down the road. 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.”