Ireland given major injury boost for rest of World Cup
Question marks initially surrounded Sheehan’s participation in the tournament after he limped off with a foot issue during his country’s warm-up win over England on August 19.
The 25-year-old sat out bonus-point wins over Romania and Tonga before making his World Cup debut as a second-half replacement during Saturday evening’s memorable Pool B triumph over South Africa in Paris.
Fit-again Sheehan is targeting further action when Ireland return to Stade de France on October 7 seeking to secure progression to the knockout stages in a “massive” clash with Scotland.
“For a first experience of a World Cup game, it doesn’t get much better, I don’t think, especially in a crowd like that,” he said, after his side were backed by tens of thousands of Irish fans against the Springboks.
“It’s definitely the best atmosphere I’ve played in. We fed off that a good bit.
“My body’s perfect now. I had a few weeks there where the medical staff did a great job to get me back in this time but I’ve no complaints at all now so I’ll be looking to get back into the squad.”
Victory over South Africa put Ireland in control of Pool B and propelled them to the cusp of the quarter-finals.
Yet Andy Farrell’s men, who are due to reconvene on Wednesday following a few days off, still have work to do to prevent a pool-stage exit.
Asked how much pressure beating the reigning champions takes off the Scotland match, Sheehan replied: “None. The job’s not done.
“We have a bit of luxury now that we have two weeks to lead up into the Scotland game but we can’t afford to take the foot off the gas at all.
“The Scotland game is going to be massive. That’s obviously a massive win for us but nothing’s guaranteed at all so all eyes on Scotland now.”
The world’s number one team have won 16 matches in a row and suffered just two defeats in their last 30 outings.
Sheehan believes the remarkable run of results have helped enhance the unity in Ireland’s camp but insists Farrell’s squad must remain grounded.
“I think all of these big games bring you closer,” said the Leinster player, who is competing with provincial team-mate Ronan Kelleher and Ulster’s Rob Herring for a starting spot. “They add to the trust within the group.
“It definitely brings you tighter but you need to make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself and there’s a job to be done now against Scotland.
“We’ve huge confidence in our game plan and our approach to the games is really good. Our week’s prep has been on point for every game that we’ve won.
“We just double down on what we’re good at. We’re in a good place now and we just need to keep going.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Sign up for free