Silverware seems to follow Joe McSwiney everywhere he goes, the latest accolade an Ulster Bank League medal with his new club Lansdowne, who beat Clontarf (18-17) in Saturday’s final at the Aviva Stadium.
McSwiney had barely time to settle into a new job in the engineering sector and into a new club than he was celebrating.
Last year, with Cork Constitution, he pocketed Munster and Bateman Cup (All-Ireland) medals. That was just to go with another double the previous year and an Ulster Bank League medal in his first year with the Temple Hill outfit.
Not bad for a 26 year old.
“Not bad at all,” admitted McSweeney, an Enniscorthy native who was signed from his days as an under 20 player with Waterpark by Constitution coaches Brian Hickey and Brian Walsh.
“I played my rugby in Cork Con for five years but I suppose as rugby goes I come from humble backgrounds. I started when I was 16 for Enniscorthy in Wexford, I went from there to Waterpark and it was actually Brian Hickey and Squeaks (Walsh) who spotted me up when I was playing under 20s in Waterpark.
Five years on, and with a Masters to his credit, he got a call from Scott Deasy, another former Constitution (and Munster) player who enquired about his availability for the 2014/2015 season.
“It was just after finishing my Masters in Cork, so career-wise it was a good option for me to come up here.”
He gives most of the credit for his latest success – after winning Man of the Match award on Saturday – to head coach Mike Ruddock.
“We have had a fairly spectacular season but to be perfectly honest it is all up to Mike. He gets a squad working and everyone works so hard for him.
“Victory brought an end to a tough season when 50 hours a week at work was only the start.
“You have to remember we are 100%t amateur and this year was more difficult than previously. There are guys like myself and Ron Boucher (captain), he’s a solicitor and I’m an engineer, we do our 50 hours a week and at least ten hours of training on top of that; it’s tough going.”
But at 26 he feels he is only starting. “There are a few years to go to be sure and hard work is fine by me. There are guys in the Ulster Bank League that put just as much work into the game as, say, the GAA players do, so the reward is what you put into it.”
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