Over the weekend, Cork footballer Ciaran Sheehan was forced into inter-county retirement due to a persistent knee injury.
The 30-year-old told the Irish Examiner that his knee had got to the point where it was no longer able to sustain the intensity of the inter-county game.
The Éire Óg man returned to the Cork panel in late 2019 for the first time since 2013. He had spent the mid-2010s in Australia playing Aussie rules with Carlton. Though, his time Down Under was dogged by injury troubles.
He had surgery on his knee last winter, but suffered a meniscus tear during a recent league game against Clare.
"Ciaran's a massive loss," said Cork teammate Brian Hurley on Thursday at the launch of Sports Direct's ‘Born To Play’ campaign.
"He had no choice in the matter.
"I've seen stuff in the last four or five months, that you wouldn't have seen, in training and challenge games. People can say what they want about him - he had a lot of surgeries over [in Australia].
"I saw a bit of it, the 2010, 2012, 2013 Ciaran Sheehan [in those training sessions and challenge games]. I was excited. I was only saying to him a couple of weeks ago when we played two challenge games, and some of the things he did... I was excited to be playing with him, partnering him for the next day.
"Unfortunately, he picked up an injury against Clare. The medical advice, it didn't go his way."
Cork footballer, Brian Hurley, pictured today as Cork GAA sponsor, Sports Direct unveiled its ‘Born To Play’ campaign for the Championship. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Hurley said that when he first joined the Cork panel in 2012, Sheehan's support helped ease him into senior football. Sheehan was the final link on the current Cork panel to the team which won the All-Ireland in 2010.
"I know Ciaran personally," said Hurley.
"On and off the field, what a guy.
"When I first came in to the seniors in 2012, in fairness, himself and Aidan Walsh were brilliant to us. Other lads, you'd have to prove yourself to them, the old Cork stubbornness way. The two boys, every small thing, they'd help you along with. They were just brilliant.
"On the pitch... I'm sure you can remember him before he went to Australia, he was deadly. In the air, no one could compete with him.
"I remember in Killarney, the Munster final in '13, he came on at half-time and caught four or five in the air. I think I got two off him. He'd just do all the donkey work for you, and pop it to you. I'd the easy part to do."
Sports Direct is calling on parents of new-born babies from across the Rebel County to register their baby’s name to be in with the chance of featuring on Cork GAA’s very own walk of fame around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and receive a Cork GAA kit. ‘The Steps To Greatness’ celebrates all new-born babies born in Cork in summer 2021 who – like the greats who have gone before them – are #BornToPlay. The names will be on display outside Páirc Uí Chaoimh ahead of Cork’s Championship openers this season. Parents can register their baby’s name by visiting: https://bit.ly/SportsDirect-BornToPlay