This week's guest on the Balls.ie Football Show was Cavan's best-traveled man, Cillian Sheridan. You can listen to the full interview below, or by subscribing on iTunes or your Android podcasting app.
Sheridan is now plying his trade with Jagellonia Bialystok in Poland, allowing the Irish international to check off another first: no Irish international had played domestic football in Poland prior to his arrival. He acknowledges his peripatetic existence, and ahead of the Champions League group stages with Apoel Nicosia, he tweeted that his headstone will read "the last Irishman in the Champions League". That campaign was among many highlights in Cyprus. He won two doubles with Apoel, with the second of those prefaced with European games against Ajax, Barcelona, and PSG.
Sheridan has been capped three times by Ireland, all appearances coming under Giovanni Trapattoni, and admits disappointment that playing in the Champions League group stages did not lead to at least being among conversations around the national squad.
Up until the Champions League, it was understandable. It wasn't until we qualified for the Champions League I thought 'oh, I've quite a good chance here'. Before that, I'd never look at when the squad was announced or anything, but when that came around, I was hoping to get something. So not annoyed, but.... disappointment, really.
I've not had any contact. I don't know if they keep in contact with players. Before, when Trapattoni was manager, there were never any phone calls or anything, even when you were involved.
Sheridan's refusal to hang around the British leagues, he says, is a personal choice, but admits surprise that more players do not move abroad to capitalise on the easier access to European football. That is not to say Sheridan is lacking ambition: he was comfortable in Cyprus, but elected to move to Poland to compete for a league title and put himself in the spotlight for a move to a bigger league.
Sheridan's career thus far has been remarkable, but everything could have worked out a lot different. Sheridan was a prodigious Gaelic footballer in Cavan, and he also had another alternative to soccer: Aussie Rules. He, along with two other footballers, were approached by a representative from the Brisbane Lions:
It was a scout or agent type of fella who first told us about the interest. I went and did a trial. It was me, Sean Cavangh's brother and one other guy, and they brought us up to Blackrock College. We did some sprint tests, and then at the end the guy showed us how to kick the Aussie Rules ball for 20 minutes at the end of the session. We had a meeting afterward, but this was the time of my first football trial, so I went over to Norwich. I said to them that I had started to get trials, and that my first choice is to go play soccer.
You can listen to the full interview on the podcast.