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Saturday 21 April 2018

Sheehan swaps Cork for AFL deal

Cork's Ciaran Sheehan. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE...ABC
Cork's Ciaran Sheehan. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE...ABC

THE Cork football exodus continues – only this time, instead of another Rebel retirement, they have lost one of their brightest young stars to Australia.

Ciaran Sheehan, 22, is moving to Melbourne in January after agreeing a two-year contract with AFL side Carlton Blues, who already include two of Sheehan's recent Ireland International Rules teammates – the well-established Zach Tuohy of Laois and new recruit Ciaran Byrne from Louth, who has signed a rookie contract.

New Cork manager Brian Cuthbert has already seen five Leeside veterans retire inside the last fortnight – Graham Canty, Paudie Kissane, Noel O'Leary, Alan Quirke and Pearse O'Neill, all All-Ireland winners in 2010 – but Sheehan's loss would appear an even more crushing blow given his age and pedigree.

He's still relatively old to be offered an Aussie Rules deal, his belated switch coming four years after spending four weeks training with Carlton before opting not to sign full-time, citing homesickness.

"It's a great opportunity that I didn't want to turn down," he explained of his imminent move.

"I thought a lot about it and didn't take the decision lightly.

"Leaving home is very tough and not playing for Cork or Éire Óg is a difficult thing to take.

"But this is something I wanted to do so I'm going to go for it."

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