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Wednesday 26 April 2017

Sweeney keen on final destination

Jude's man hopes his club can get rid of unwanted consistency

Dublin CEO Ray Coyne presents St Jude’s footballer Mark Sweeney with his Dub Stars award. Pic: Colin O’Riordan
Dublin CEO Ray Coyne presents St Jude’s footballer Mark Sweeney with his Dub Stars award. Pic: Colin O’Riordan

While St Vincent's are rightly acknowledged as the premium club team in Dublin in recent years, there are few teams in the county that can match the enduring consistency of St Jude's.

The Templeogue outfit have contested four Dublin Senior Football Championship semi-finals in five years and while they have failed to advance to a decider in those times, their status as genuine challengers cannot be questioned.

Contributed

One player to have contributed to their continuing presence at the business end of the championship is Mark Sweeney with his versatility earning him a second successive Dubs Stars Award earlier in the month.

"I think it's fair to say that our record in recent years has been very frustrating as we have mixed some excellent performance with some below-par displays," said Sweeney.

"That was the case again this year when we delivered a great display against Kilmacud Crokes but failed to follow that up in the semi-final against Castleknock.

"Down the years, the lads have been defined by their hard work and we have just tried to add to that solid foundation in every campaign we've had.

"We were far more creative as a 15 in that match against Kilmacud but there was a collective failure against Castleknock.

"In some ways, they took our game-plan out of our hands by not contesting our kick-outs and we just didn't or weren't able to adapt on the night and fair play to Castleknock who totally deserved the win and took the chances that came their way.

"It was so frustrating as we felt we were good enough to win and be involved in the final but it just wasn't to be and we need to continue learning from each year and coming back stronger.

"It is such a competitive championship but we have shown that we are more than a match for most teams and there are some very strong and influential players around the panel that will continue to make us a competitive championship team," he added.

Sweeney, who works as an actuary in Dublin, will be unable to tog out in Sunday's Dubs Stars match in Parnell Park as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder operation delayed from May until his season ended with that championship defeat to Castleknock.

That injury will curtail his National Football League Division 3 campaign with Antrim but he will hope to return to county colours for the last two league matches after last year's encouraging promotion from Division 4.

Bulk

"I'm in my eighth year with the senior county team and it's very frustrating that I'm going to miss the bulk of our league campaign.

"It's tough playing for a county that is considered to be at the bottom of the pile when the Ulster Championship begins and that is the mentality that we need to change within the county.

"There are some very talented footballers in Antrim and playing in Division 3 is a great challenge for us but like any team, whether club or county, you need to have the correct foundations in place if you're to enjoy any success," he said.

football: Dubs Stars v Dublin, Parnell Park, New Year's Day (2.0)

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