10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
It is almost a year to the day that Ireland hooker Sheahan sustained the neck injury, whilst playing for Munster against Sale Sharks, which almost ended his career.
Munster's new captain Paul O'Connell missed the start of last season's Heineken Cup due to a hand injury. The big Limerick man will leave the celebrations aside - he turns 27 tomorrow - as he bids to lead his side to victory against Leicester Tigers on Sunday (Welford Road, kick-off 3pm).
Pack men Denis Leamy and Donncha O'Callaghan seem in jovial mood at Temple Hill. But number eight Leamy, who boasts an excellent try-scoring record in the Heineken Cup of five scores in 13 starts, is mindful of teams targeting Munster after their title success last May.
The Tipperary man warned: "Being called champions Europe doesn't guarantee anything. It's going to be very difficult again as it's now a target for everyone to beat Munster and obviously going over to Leicester first up is going to be very difficult.
"Welford Road is one of the great venues of European rugby. They're going to be so up for it, it's unreal. If we don't get ourselves mentally and physically right, we're in for a horrible time."
Loosehead prop Marcus Horan who was involved in the lead-up to Ronan O'Gara's try during Munster's 20-7 victory on their last visit to Welford Road (April 2003).
Munster coach Declan Kidney makes a point to the province's forwards coach Brian Hickey during the session in Cork. Hickey, a qualified dentist, previously coached at Con, as well as UCC and Young Munster.
Munster lock Donncha O'Callaghan has great admiration for Leicester Tigers captain and number eight Martin Corry. In a recent interview for Rugby World, the Corkman said of his fellow Lions tourist: "Martin Corry left a huge impression on me. I can't say how much regard I have for that man. He's a selfless individual with a fantastic work ethic and great leadership skills.
"(On the Lions tour) he would play a game and even though he'd have the next day off, he would still be there doing the training. The coaches were going 'Martin, you don't have to do this', but he wanted to. You can see why they picked him as captain of England. You worry when you play against fellas like him."
Leicester's Australian-born coach Pat Howard reckons his side will pay Munster respect, but not too much. He said: "Munster are very good technically. You don't win the Heineken Cup, or remain so consistent in it over a number of years, without having that about you.
"We're all expecting a tough battle, but more importantly, the whole squad is looking forward to Sunday. They've got a very lineout, but so have we. They've also got a fantastic core blief - something which also seems familiar!"
Flanker Alan Quinlan, who is just three games short of making his 50th appearance for Munster in the Heineken Cup, takes part in some stretching. Last season was an injury-ravaged one for the 32-year-old who made only two appearances in the tournament, the second as a replacement in the final win in Cardiff.
Tighthead prop John Hayes, who is joint-second in the Heineken Cup's list of most-capped players alongside France's Fabien Pelous, gets involved in a passing drill. The Bruff clubman has scored only two tries in 63 outings in the tournament - against Toulouse (2000) and Perpignan (2002).
**All photos by Neil Danton of Inpho Photography**