Sheridan ready to kick on with lessons learned in AFLW 3 months ago

Sheridan ready to kick on with lessons learned in AFLW

Ever since she returned home after a season scoring goals in Australia, Aishling Sheridan has been focusing on an Ulster championship with Cavan.

When you consider that it was only a fortnight ago when she landed back in the motherland, the turn-around will be fast, furious and hardly ideal, but the Mullahorn player ensures us that she's ready for road and we wouldn't dare doubt her.

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 “I’m not going to lie, the transition has been a bit difficult," says Sheridan, who was Ireland's top goalscorer in the AFLW this season.

"Last year when I came from Australia I had a full 10 or 12-week lockdown to prepare myself whereas I only had the 10 or 14 days this time."

"I’ve been doing my own extra bits every day to just get comfortable on the ball. Self confidence is a big thing so just even getting more time holding the round ball as opposed to an oval ball, that can make a massive difference."

Her father is the former Cavan footballer Gerry and he's been helping, as he's always done, to keep the eye-in and the skills sharp.

When asked what she took home from her time with Collingwood as the biggest learning of her AFLW career, Sheridan says that on the back of her experience, her leadership skills have improved.

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"One thing they can’t comprehend is how Gaelic is not semi-professional or a professional sport," says the former DCU student.

"In terms of qualities to bring back home, off-the-field stuff like leadership would be something. I really think the preparation and the whole set-up of the county system has really improved over the last few years, and it is heading towards that semi-pro environment.

"Training is not too dissimilar to what goes on here. Over there, it may be half an hour longer or maybe 45 minutes longer. Training may start at 6.30pm but you’re arriving at training at 4pm so you’ve a full two and a half hours before you actually start training. There’s a lot of emphasis on the prehab."

"There’s a lot of emphasis put onto the skills part. Essentially, it’s not too different. You do your forwards and your backs. Obviously it’s a contact sport so you might have a tough session of tackling."

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All in all, Sheridan is delighted with how her AFLW career has gone so far and is looking forward to returning again next season.

“If you take two years ago, Collingwood were bottom of the table so the progression we’ve made in recent years has been phenomenal,” said Sheridan. “Looking back on my season, I’m definitely happy with it.”

“The messages I received personally in the 10 weeks I was playing was absolutely phenomenal. It really warmed your heart to see people who mightn’t have ever seen the game before getting such pleasure out of watching the games.

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“I had a message from an elderly person who was probably in their 80s or 90s from Cavan saying how every weekend they looked forward to watching the games. It’s something really heartwarming. Full credit to TG4 because without them, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

"Obviously not next year with everything that’s going on but with four new teams coming on that means that 30 new players will be needed for each team and then there might be older players on each team that only have another year or two left. I imagine in the next two or three years, there will be a good few Irish looked at to go over."