FORMER Cork City defender Michael McSweeney is relishing his new role working as a physical education lead teacher in Dubai.
The former Riverstown, Lakewood, and UCC player departed for pastures new in Dubai eight weeks ago when he was offered the opportunity to pursue a full-time job as a PE teacher in the Middle East. McSweeney has settled into living in Dubai seamlessly.
“I am loving life here in Dubai. I love travelling, seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and Dubai has been amazing so far,” said the Cork native.
The 28-year-old is thriving in his new role as a physical education lead teacher. As part of his job specification, he travels around to 10 schools in the United Arab Emirates in his teaching role.
“I’m really enjoying my new job working as a physical education lead trainer. I am responsible for the induction of the UAE’s new PE curriculum in 10 schools around Dubai. I visit these schools once every week and support the Arabian PE teachers with the new curriculum and student PE workbook. I also host a continual professional development (CPD) workshop once a week for the PE teachers. It is a very busy role, but I am really enjoying it.”
McSweeney, who played with Cork City for three seasons, having joined them from Mervue United in 2014, is currently playing five-a-side soccer in Dubai to maintain his general fitness. He hopes to resume playing competitive soccer once the league campaign resumes in the coming months.
“I’m still playing soccer out here. I was considering joining a competitive team here that has a few former League of Ireland players and a few players that would have played at a good level in England, but they’ve only a couple of games left in the season so, instead, I play five-a-side a couple of times a week with some of those lads which I am really enjoying.” McSweeney made the move to Dubai just as his former playing colleagues with Cork City began their pre-season preparations ahead of the Airtricity League campaign. Despite moving to the Middle East, Michael is still keeping abreast of all developments at City as they seek to build on last year’s FAI Cup triumph.
“I certainly don’t miss the slog of pre-season training. I have no regrets on moving so far. It was great to see the lads start the season well with maximum points against Drogheda, Galway, and Finn Harps. It was great to see them beat Dundalk in the President’s Cup also. I’m still in touch with the players and I do miss the craic.
“I’m sure I’ll be back home during the summer holidays so I’ll pop out to training someday to see them and will try and get a game at the Cross in as well.”
McSweeney still retains very fond memories of representing Cork City.
“It was a massive honour to play for my home town club, the club I supported growing up. I have many fantastic memories from my time at the club. My main memories are of Colin Healy scoring with a bicycle kick against St Pat’s to win the game in the last minute.
"Kevin O’Connor’s goal against BK Hacken at the Cross to send us through to the third round in the Europa League was another great memory. Beating Dundalk to win the FAI Cup at the Aviva was also a special moment. They are just some of the many great memories I have of being a part of such a fantastic club.” McSweeney admits that it was a very difficult decision to leave City and their great support base behind as he embarks on a new career in Dubai. He still has dreams of playing again in the Airtricity League.
“Half-way through last season I got an email from a recruiter about the job in Dubai and straight away I knew it was something I’d like to do. The more information I found out about the job, the more I knew I would love it so I thought I’d apply and see what would happen.
“When I was offered the job, leaving Cork City was a difficult decision to make. It’s the best club in the league with the best supporters. It was always going to be difficult to leave. Of course, I would have liked to have stayed another season but that would have meant missing out on the job in Dubai. I don’t think it’s the end of my League of Ireland career.
“I do miss playing in the Airtricity League and it would be great to get back into it when I move home. I like to keep fit so when I return, sooner or later to Ireland, I hope to play in the domestic league again.” McSweeney has been very impressed with City’s winning start to their league campaign. He is confident they will enjoy a successful domestic season.
“City will be up there challenging again this season for sure. There’s a great bunch of lads there and with the new additions to the squad who appear to have hit the ground running straight away, I reckon they’ll be challenging for more silverware this season.”