'Instrumental' Dan Sheehan would be 'big loss' for Ireland – Mike Catt

'Instrumental' Dan Sheehan Would Be 'Big Loss' For Ireland – Mike Catt
Hooker Dan Sheehan, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Ed Elliot, PA

Assistant coach Mike Catt admits injured hooker Dan Sheehan is “instrumental” in Ireland’s style of play and would be a “big loss” for the Rugby World Cup.

Sheehan put a dampener on Saturday’s 29-10 victory over England by limping off shortly before half-time, with Ireland’s coaching staff still anxiously waiting to discover the extent of his foot issue.


The 24-year-old remained in Dublin for treatment as Andy Farrell’s men flew to France to prepare for this weekend’s final warm-up match, against Samoa in Bayonne.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, right, and assistant Mike Catt, left, are still awaiting news on Dan Sheehan's foot issue
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, right, and assistant Mike Catt, left, are still awaiting news on Dan Sheehan’s foot issue (Brian Lawless/PA)

Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Tom Stewart and the uncapped Diarmuid Barron have travelled and will seek to stake their claims for the number two role.


Catt insists Ireland’s coaching team have full confidence in the back-up options but concedes potentially losing “world-class” Sheehan for part or all of the World Cup, which starts on September 8, would be a major blow.

“I think what you get from Dan, he’s one of the best hookers in the world currently, so he’s going to be missed in whatever team he plays in,” he said.

“But we’ve got full faith in Rob Herring and Ronan Kelleher and Tom Stewart.



“It gives these guys an opportunity, they’ll have a pop this weekend and, depending on the diagnosis, we’ll see how we go on the back end of it.

“But he (Sheehan) is a world-class rugby player, he’s been instrumental in terms of how to play our game, so he’d be a big loss for everybody.”

South Africa-born Herring, Ireland’s only hooker remaining from the 2019 World Cup in Japan, came off the bench to replace Sheehan in the 37th minute against Steve Borthwick’s side at the Aviva Stadium.

Sheehan’s Leinster team-mate Kelleher is yet to feature at Test level since the Six Nations but head coach Farrell is positive he will be fit for the World Cup in spite of a hamstring issue.


Rob Herring is among Ireland's options for the number two role
Rob Herring is among Ireland’s options for the number two role (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stewart made his Ireland debut off the bench in the 33-17 win over Italy on August 5, while fellow international rookie Barron is awaiting his maiden outing having trained in camp this summer.

Speaking of Sheehan’s condition, Catt continued: “We still haven’t got a confirmation on what it is. He’s still seeing the specialist, he’s obviously being rehabbed back in Dublin.

“Hopefully Andy will have a bit more of an outcome-based answer (later in the week). As we currently stand, he’s seeing specialists and getting the proper treatment.

“We’ll have much clearer idea tomorrow or Thursday in terms of where he’s at and what his return dates are.”

Ireland’s World Cup opener is on September 9th against Romania in Bordeaux. Farrell will name his final 33-man squad for the tournament on Monday.

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