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Dan Sheehan is ready to admit he has a ‘strange route’ to a Leinster appearance but he feels at home now

HE MIGHT didn’t want to be on the bench today but Dan Sheehan is adamant that there is no better place than Leinster.

Sheehan made his Ireland debut against Japan in November and also played against Argentina two weeks later.

On the way to score against Connacht

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On the way to score against Connacht

On each occasion, he replaces Rónan Kelleher, who is also the starter for the province’s Champions Cup clash with Montpellier.

With both aged 23, some players might conclude that their careers could be better served elsewhere.

But Sheehan said: “It worked perfectly until now. I was able to go where I wanted.

“If you look at Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong, the two of whom made the Lions Team as tight as two, it just shows you can do it, there’s time to play.

“You can miss a few starts if you’re not the number one, but as a striker, I think you still have enough game time.

“And the two of us could push each other a lot further than we would have if we weren’t together.

“If you are going to start at another club, you can get a very comfortable position where you are happy where you are.

“But coming to Leinster weekly, you have to stay ahead of your game to even get on the team.

“I’m also playing at Leinster level at the moment, that’s where I need to be.”

Although it is still early days, he is proud of his achievement so far, as he does not know if his ambition is realistic or not.

“At school, I always knew I wanted to be a professional rugby player,” he explains.

“But I just look at professional rugby as such a high standard, I’m not sure if I really have a chance to go to the top.

“During the last days of school, my fifth and sixth years, maybe I didn’t have the confidence I have now. I have no strength.

“I actually never exercised at school. I know I’m big but I don’t have any real strength to back it up.

“The sub-academy and academy gym sessions helped.”

PROSPECTUS FOR VIEWING

There was a time when not many people saw him do it.

He completed the dissection sequence well before a series of events turned in his favor.

The 2018 World Cup was not a win for Ireland.

They were 11th out of 12 but it set the wheel in motion for Sheehan.

He said: “I’m probably fourth or fifth in the 20s – I’m not on the Six Nations team – Rónan Kelleher, Eoghan Clarke, Diarmuid Barron are all in, then Alexander Clarke.

“Then Rónan had an ankle or shoulder problem, Eoghan Clarke dislocated his hip and that put me somehow in a shuffle on a team.

LUCKY

“I went to the World Cup – being on the bench for the first four games, starting the last game against Japan and I think my ankle saved me.

“They had to rehab me and I was at UCD all summer, otherwise I would have been let go.

“At the end of the summer they said, ‘We need people to train, we don’t have enough numbers so we have to keep going’.

“Then I kept going before I got a real contract.

“These things just kept happening in a strange way, one after the other, and I just stuck in it. It’s a strange route. “

LEARN MY WORD

As well as becoming physically stronger, Sheehan believes other aspects of his game have grown in tandem with his confidence as coaches put more and more faith in him. .

He said: “Once I got the attention of the coaches. . . Honestly, I think that’s all because once I’ve been confident in my game over the last two or three years, it’s just gone by leaps and bounds.

“In the dressing room, I won’t be the talker of the day and now I feel much more comfortable with my knowledge of the game, being able to get in and out.

“I developed my carry. My carry game was the first thing that gave me confidence and caught my eye.

“I remember it was the Celtic Cup two or three years ago, where I felt I was at the top and stood out.

“In my early years, I was more of an ‘analog’ piece of the jigsaw puzzle, rather than a standout player.”

HIT THE ROAD MACK

Last month, he passed Connacht winger Mack Hansen en route to score a memorable goal.

He said: “Playing AIL, you don’t really have to step, I feel like I can run through people, so I try to be more direct.

“When you get into professional rugby when everyone is the same size, everyone has more power.

“I remember one day in the game against Cardiff trying to run past someone and was completely beaten.

“From then on, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to have to add a few things’ so I started doing it.

“I know I have a little bit of top speed that some strikers don’t and I can be a bit deceitful because I’m big but I can also move.

“With Mack Hansen, a lot of wingers will think you’re going to try to get ahead of them and they don’t expect me to try to get around them to sit them down.

“It’s something that has recently become an add-on to my game.”

INTERNATIONAL DEEP END

Both players were at the Ireland camp for the first time last fall but Sheehan got his time under Andy Farrell earlier than expected.

“I remember that audition day, I didn’t even get a chance to sit down with Andy,” he said.

“They just threw the team on the board and I remember I saw my name and I said, ‘My God.

“I have my sights set on Argentina – hopefully if the first two games go well they can give me a chance against Argentina – so to see my name in the team against Japan is extremely exciting. encourage. I know I’m ready.

“I trusted from Leinster, what is it like to be in a squad with 18 Leinster players?”

Same face but different calls and he said: ‘The first days when you got all these new calls I was a bit confused.

“Players and coaches really understand that you have mountains of information coming your way and it takes a few days to put it in your mind.

“The work environment in the Ireland team, I was expecting it to be a bit more isolated or stressful, with everyone trying to hold things back to make sure they get picked, but I was blown away by the lack of enthusiasm. support.”

https://www.thesun.ie/sport/rugby-union/8212393/dan-sheehan-bizarre-route-leinster-emergence/ Dan Sheehan is ready to admit he has a ‘strange route’ to a Leinster appearance but he feels at home now

Fry Electronics Team

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