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Ciarán Sheehan on the ball in this year's league.
Ciarán Sheehan on the ball in this year's league.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Cork All-Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan forced to retire from inter-county football

The former AFL player has struggled with persistent knee injuries of late.
Jun 20th 2021, 12:14 PM 9,803 2

CORK ALL-IRELAND WINNER Ciarán Sheehan has been forced to retire from inter-county football duty due to persistent knee injuries.

Sheehan, 30, confirmed the news to The Irish Examiner this morning, telling sports editor Tony Leen: “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.”

The star forward, who helped the Rebels to Sam Maguire glory in 2010 and the U21s to an All-Ireland crown in 2009, has been plagued by persistent knee cartilage issues of late, most recently a torn meniscus, as reported by The42, and has been advised by medics to step back from the inter-county game.

Sheehan’s Eire Óg side were promoted to the top grade of Cork football last night after winning the delayed 2020 Senior A FC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, though he watched from the sidelines, having recently told Cork boss Ronan McCarthy of his retirement decision.

He bows out as the last player from the 2010 All-Ireland senior win still involved.

“Ciarán Sheehan is a top player, a Rolls Royce of a footballer,” McCarthy told The Examiner. “He has been a calm and influential leader on and off the field and I’m certain he will have much to offer Cork football in the years ahead.”

He has been, and remains, “a consummate professional, and a class act, pure and simple,” McCarthy added.

Sheehan went to Australia in 2014 to play AFL for Carlton and was named Rookie of the Year. He stayed there for four seasons, though persistent hamstring issues hampered his development.

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He returned to play for Cork in 2020, though struggled with knee problems and missed the winter championship.

His retirement comes as a blow to the Leesiders ahead of their championship bid, which opens against Limerick or Waterford at the Munster semi-final stage on 10 July.

It’s understood that Sheehan, who turns 31 in November, plans to continue playing club football.

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Emma Duffy


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