Former Cork footballer Ciarán Sheehan spoke yesterday about his inability to participate in the Ireland International Rules panel.
Sheehan, who was very impressive in last year’s series, is one of three Irish players at AFL club Carlton, all of whom have not been available.
Zach Tuohy, who was also excellent 12 months ago in the record Ireland series victory, ruled himself out because of family commitments, the birth of a baby, and a desire to improve his AFL form.
Sheehan and another young international Ciarán Byrne, from Louth, were simply directed by Carlton not to participate.
“Yeah, it’s my job at the end of the day,” said Sheehan in Sandringham after Ireland’s practice match for next weekend’s Test, “and you absolutely want to play for your country but you’ve got to train hard and you’ve got to be there for pre-season and that’s the choice that was made and that’s it.
“It’s great to come down and support the lads today and see them run around and I wish them all the best next week. For me it’s back to the serious stuff.”
He said that he had been grateful for Tuohy’s advice last season, his rookie year, in Melbourne and sympathises with the former Laois player’s decision to concentrate on getting his AFL form back.
“There’s a lot of pressure put on players throughout the year and I think Zach knows what he’s capable of. He played some very, very good games last year and he’s a fella I looked up to for the whole year.
“I was lucky enough to get four games and it’s all just about keeping the head down. It’s great to get advice from him and hear what he has to say. He’s been around the block so it’s good to have him in the dressing room.”