Sheridan joins list of the departed
Meath football manager Seamus McEnaney has admitted he does not expect to have Joe Sheridan back in the county colours again this year.
Sheridan yesterday flew out to Boston, where he is expected to take up employment in the construction industry.
Any hopes of a quick U-turn by the player prior to the championship have been dashed by the manager.
"Unfortunately Joe's mind seems to be made up. He has given no indication that he will be back in the short or medium term," said McEnaney. "We've made every effort to keep him at home since he first raised the prospect of this a couple of weeks ago.
"Employment was secured for him (in Ireland) if he wanted it, but he wanted to go. Unfortunately we've had to accept the decision.
"It doesn't look likely that he will be available to us again before the end of the season. It's obviously disappointing."
Sheridan has contacts in Boston and is likely to pitch in with the Wolfe Tones club for the summer months.
He has been in employment in Ireland in the waste disposal business, but a desire to go abroad was at the centre of his decision. His departure underlines once more the challenge the GAA is facing with regards to emigration.
In a statement yesterday, Sheridan said he only finalised his decision last Friday, two days before coming off the bench to score a goal that looked like it would earn Meath at least a draw against Galway in Salthill until Paul Conroy's late winner for the home side.
"After a lot of thought I have decided to emigrate to take up an opportunity I simply could not refuse," he said.
"I would like to thank the Meath senior football team management and the Meath County Board who worked hard to secure employment for me, but I feel that this opportunity abroad is something I need to do."
Sheridan has not started any of Meath's four league games to date, but he has come off the bench each time. The timing of his departure, in the middle of one of the busiest stretches of the inter-county season, is a surprise.
Having trained so hard over the last number of months the move has even startled his own team-mates, some of whom were only made aware of the decision in the aftermath of Sunday's defeat to Galway when they convened for the post-match meal.
That defeat halted Meath's push for promotion and renders their home match with Derry a must-win game.
It's not the first time that 27-year-old Sheridan has cut short an inter-county season. In 2007 he quit the Meath squad the week after being taken off in the first half of a Leinster quarter-final replay against Dublin.
He felt tired and lacking in confidence and withdrew for the remainder of a season that saw Meath go on to contest an All-Ireland semi-final against Cork.
He picked himself up with his club, Seneschalstown, who went on to win a Meath SFC title under the management of his father Damien and, by the following year, he was back playing with the Royals again.
His father stepped down as manager at the end of last season after five years in charge, and that would have made this decision just a little bit easier.
This season Meath have attempted to play a faster game using more mobile forwards and Sheridan was forced to bide his time on the sidelines.
But McEnaney has been at pains to stress how there is no undercurrent to this decision. "I couldn't say how much we tried to persuade Joe to stay. He's a very significant loss to Meath football," he said.
With Shane O'Rourke still recovering from a hip operation, Nigel Crawford and Anthony Moyles both retiring and Paddy O'Rourke being left off the squad at the outset, Meath's size factor is not as significant as it was in 2011.
Meath's remaining games in Division 2 are against Derry at home, Tyrone away and finally Louth at home.