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Sheehan heading Down Under

CORK are set to lose rising star Ciaran Sheehan to an Aussies Rules club -- but not for another season.

Carlton Blues have confirmed the Eire Og player and All-Ireland senior winner will join them for pre-season training next October and start his AFL career with them in the 2012 season.

The U-21 dual star had a four-week trial with the Melbourne club in 2009, but returned home and quickly established himself as a starter for the county senior footballers in the past year, lining out at wing-forward in their All-Ireland final defeat of Down.

Carlton Blues general manager of football operations Steve Icke has confirmed Sheehan is coming to them in 2012 and believes his early All-Ireland success has contributed to his decision to move Down Under.

"I think that's part of it. It's a box ticked I suppose...to have won an All-Ireland medal as a 19-year-old is a great achievement," Icke said.

He clarified that Sheehan, who only turned 20 two weeks ago, is committed to Conor Counihan's Cork side for the coming season.

"He's in the second year of a sports marketing course, so he'd like to finish next year's term. He wants to be able to have a career outside football which is important," Icke said.

Sheehan is a second-year student at Cork IT and won Munster medals in both hurling and football as a minor.

In 2009, when he did his Leaving Cert, he won an All-Ireland U-21 football medal, went to Australia for a trial with Carlton and was called up by the Cork seniors before their All-Ireland final loss to Kerry.

This year he was a pivotal figure in their senior attack and is able to alternate between full and half-forward. He was also the subject of a tussle for loyalties when Cork senior football management would not release himself and Aidan Walsh to the county's U-21 hurlers for a Munster championship match with Tipperary.

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Sheehan will be the Blues' third Irish recruit and their second from Cork, as they have already signed former Rebel hurler Setanta O hAilpin and Zach Tuohy of Laois.

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