Saturday 17 November 2018

'Archie is the biggest child in the squad, always pulling pranks on someone'

Take 20: Darren Sweetnam

Darren Sweetnam played hockey for Ireland U-16s in the European Championship. Photo: Sportsfile
Darren Sweetnam played hockey for Ireland U-16s in the European Championship. Photo: Sportsfile

1. Pre-match meal?

I would eat a bowl of soup first off anyway. Then after that it would usually be on to the turkey burgers with ketchup, mashed potatoes and some vegetables as well. The burgers are lovely at the Clarion and most of the lads go for that option.

2. Favourite player growing up?

Keith Earls would have been one of them. But I was a 10 all the way up through school and I even played there for the Munster U-19s so I would have always looked up to guys in that position more than anywhere else. From that point of view the likes of Jonny Wilkinson and Ronan O'Gara were up there for me. ROG was definitely a bit of an idol and he is from Munster and Cork too.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

Jack O'Donoghue would be the best room-mate. We usually room together because we live together as it is, and we are used to each other because of that. It just makes it that bit easier. James Cronin lives with us in Limerick too.

4. Who would headline your house party?

The Script.

5. First song they would play?

'Hall of Fame' is a classic.

6. You win the Lotto, what is the first thing you would buy?

A house on the coast in Cork, West Cork of course.

7. Favourite movie?

'The Shawshank Redemption', you can just keep watching it. Everyone seems to enjoy it too. They can't be all wrong.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

My favourite TV show would be 'Game of Thrones' - for the politics, of course.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

The earliest memory, rugby related, was going to Irish Independent Park with my father when I was really young. I used to love watching Munster and that's where my interest grew from I suppose.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

Stephen Archer, or 'Archie'. He is the biggest child in the squad. Archie is always pulling pranks on someone or other. He does things like hiding someone's gear or taping their locker shut. All in the name of fun.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

Definitely Vermont in USA. My girlfriend Thea has a house out there on the slopes, with a hot tub. It's just a great place to relax and unwind.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

I love playing at Welford Road, home to Leicester Tigers. There is some atmosphere over there and they would have had great battles with Munster over the years. The place itself is steeped in rugby history and the fans are great.

13. Three people (dead or alive) who you would invite to your dinner party?

Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali and Brendan Grace. The latter would be for the jokes.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

When I won my first cap for Ireland in the big win over South Africa during the Autumn internationals at Aviva Stadium last November. That was a special day for me, and even though I only came on for five minutes, it's a day I won't easily forget, nor will my family.

15. Do you have any pre-match superstitions/rituals?

I don't really have any pre-match superstitions or rituals. I just like to listen to some tunes and relax before I get into the thick of the action in the game. Things just come naturally and you go with it.

16. Who is the best player you have played alongside and why?

Keith Earls, 'Earlsie'. The man is a legend for Munster, Ireland and the Lions. He is electric, has such quick feet and knows how to score a try or two.

17. Who is the best player you have played against and why?

Definitely Chris Ashton. He is outrageously quick and scores tries for fun, as we saw a couple of weeks ago when he was at Thomond Park with Toulon in the Champions Cup. Luckily it didn't cost us.

18. Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

I played hockey for the Ireland U-16s in the European Championship before.

19. Name three things that are always in your fridge?

Milk, hummus and Parma ham.

20. Best advice you have ever got?

Never give up.

Irish Independent

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