CORK’s All-Ireland winning forward Ciaran Sheehan has been forced to retire from inter-county football due to persistent knee injuries.
Sheehan (30) was part of the Rebels team that won the All-Ireland championship in 2010, with the then-19-year-old contributing ten points to the cause that season.
Prior to this, he had won provincial and All-Ireland medals for the county’s minor footballers, as well as a Munster minor hurling title in 2008.
Confiding his decision to the Irish Examiner, Sheehan said: “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.
From 2014, the Eire Og clubman spent four years playing in the AFL for Carlton, and even won rookie of the year that first season, but injury problems derailed his progress in Australia.
He returned to Ireland but missed Cork’s run to the 2020 Munster championship final, wherein they were beaten by Tipperary, due to recurring knee problems.
He went under the knife in a bid to fix the issue, only for him to suffer a fresh meniscus tear in a Division Two league win over Clare on May 30 which put paid to his 2021 campaign.
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Speaking to The Examiner at the weekend, Cork manager Ronan McCarthy described Sheehan as a “a consummate professional, and a class act, pure and simple.”
He said: “Ciaran Sheehan is a top player, a Rolls Royce of a footballer. He has been a calm and influential leader on and off the field.”
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Sheehan will now refocus his energy on getting fit enough to play a part in his club’s return to the top tier of club football in Cork.
Eire Og beat Mallow in the county’s delayed Senior ‘A’ championship final over the weekend, although Sheehan played no part and had to watch from the sideline.
The win sees Eire Og gain back-to-back promotions, having won the intermediate title in 2019, and ensures they will play in the Premier Senior championship, which throws in later this summer.