EOGHAN McSweeney may be one of the newer squad members in the Cork football set-up yet the Knocknagree man has been making waves since his breakthrough last season.
McSweeney, an attacking forward with plenty of pace and skill, had an excellent championship debut last summer against Limerick and is highly regarded by Ronan McCarthy. Injuries slowed him down last summer which makes his all the more eager to drive on when Cork get back in action in October.
McSweeney and his colleagues came together in the last number of weeks to raise funds for Pieta House which helped continue the bond that has been forged within the inter-county squad.
“We all got together there a couple of weeks ago and said we would like to do something for Pieta House,” said the Duhallow native.
“After their Darkness into Light annual fundraiser had to be postponed we felt that we could and should do something to help – so we came up with the plan of Cork Club Together and thankfully it turned out to be a great success – simple but very effective.”
While McSweeney and his teammates are close the peak of their fitness powers right now running long distances is not something that the players are overly used to — ally that to the serious temperatures experienced over the Bank Holiday weekend and you get some idea of the challenge that the players took on for this worthy cause.
“We all ran 10k each and passed it on to the next fellow and it all worked out very well. I think I may have got a bit of the short straw running it at 3.30 on one of the hottest days of the year.
“To say it was warm would be a massive understatement but thankfully I got there.”
While some may feel that a 10k run isn’t that taxing McSweeney was clear that for modern-day footballers long-distance road running isn’t something that features on their radar too often.
“It would be very rare that I would do something like run 10k myself. Since the lockdown I suppose people are trying to be a little bit more and I did try a little bit at the start but for me I prefer running on grass because it (roads) are very tough on the legs.
“I’d be afraid that the road running would slow me down in one way. It does help with endurance but I find you have a lot more aches and pains running on the road.”
While the exertions would obviously have taken a toll on the players the senior football star was clear that all the effort was worth it as the money rolled in for Pieta.
“Look, while it was tough on the day the figure when I last checked was at about €17k raised which is brilliant both for us and for Pieta House.
“It is great to be able to do something like this for such a charity— a charity that deals with very serious issues – issues that all in the squad can relate to through themselves, their families and their friends.
“There is nobody in Ireland that hasn’t been affected by the issues supported by Pieta House.”
Eoghan McSweeney may well not have gotten to show all his wares as of yet to the Cork sporting public as his first 12 months inside the Cork setup haven’t exactly gone to plan however the proud North Cork man still remains positive.
McSweeney made his championship debut for Cork against Limerick in 2019 but found himself on the sidelines for last year’s Munster decider after sustaining an injury shortly before the team for the provincial showpiece was to be announced.
“I picked up an injury 10 days before the final in the last of the A versus B games. It was a real blow to me, it was sickening.
“There were to be more training sessions between that one and the game with Kerry but that day was likely to be the last of the hard sessions.
“The A v B games are always intense and physical. Players are doing all they can to get onto the team so you expect players to go for it.
“I was unlucky on the day and that really is just it. You just have to get on with it and move on. That doesn’t mean you forget. You just put it to the back of your head and push on.
“It is over 12 months ago now and I sometimes still look back and it hurts. Particularly when it could have been my first senior Munster final but that is sport and you just have to get on with it.
“Hopefully there will be more big days to come and hopefully I will get a chance someday to play in the Munster final.
“From this day to that all I can do is work hard and do my best.”
The current shutdown has been hard on all GAA players, both inside and outside the Cork camp and while few would argue with the restrictions that have been put in place all would agree that a clear pathway out is important.
McSweeney and his colleagues will have to remain training in private, in the hopes that their football lives can be reborn sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, organisations like Pieta House will continue to benefit from the efforts of sportspeople up and down the land.