Old Glory has announced the return of Owen Sheehy, a former collegiate All-American. Sheehy spent part of the offseason with the USA u23 team on their tour of Uruguay.
Technically listed as a flyhalf, Sheehy actually saw all his minutes at fullback and wing. He didn’t play much, just 40 minutes in 3 matches at the end of the year. Still, if he continues to develop he could well take on a larger role in the future.
In his brief minutes, Sheehy showed a few things. First of all, his decision-making is actually very good. In this first clip, you can see him recognize Robertson’s kick going awry, win the footrace to get to the ball first, and land on it to secure possession. It’s a clear moment where he saved a potentially problematic play.
In this second clip, he shows off his pace, keeping level with the attacking players despite having to change direction. He also positions himself perfectly to intercept the pass, or at least tackle the other player as soon as he received it. His little run afterwards is pretty good as well.
There were multiple other moments I found where Sheehy awareness, field position, and decision-making were exactly what they were supposed to be. I could have added five or six clips of him positively affecting a play, which is pretty good going considering how few minutes he played.
Overall, I’m pretty high on Sheehy’s abilities. However, there is a pretty significant issue with his game. His tackling takes too long, which means that anyone who has the time can likely slip his tackle. When he’s tackling from behind or when he comes up quickly in defense, it generally works fine enough. However, as shown in the clip below, it makes him a vulnerability on the edge or as a last-option tackler. He has his man dead to rights, but hesitates and overthinks the tackle, letting his opponent slip through.
Sheehy is young and this issue is fixable, so I’m still pretty optimistic that he’ll see some time on the pitch in 2022. A more interesting question is what position he’ll be playing when he does play. His minutes came at fullback and wing, but he’s been listed as a flyhalf. With his tackling, he isn’t ready to be a flyhalf at the MLR level, but in every other respect he would be an intriguing prospect. I wonder if we won’t see him get some garbage minutes at flyhalf to see what he’s capable of.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2022 Signings Tracker for all the updates!