A Cork soccer resource. This is an archive of mini club histories that I have published over the years. To find your club, check the label list on the left side or else use the "search the blog" box above. If you spot any errors (esp. in dates) contact

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Denis Mcsweeny 29/12/94:

Denis McSweeney is one of the most successful managers in the AUL junior leagues over the past 18 years. He started his association with St John Bosco's in 1976, became manager a year later, and has led the club to a string of successes at junior level.

Earlier, despite the ban, Denis had played with Crofton Celtic and, later with Tivoli rangers, Killeagh, and Corkbeg. He remembers a great AOH Cup run by Tivoli about 1969 which ended with defeat at the hands of St Michael's of Tipperary.

McSweeney, an imported Kerryman (definitely non-assilimated), is always thinking ahead. Five years ago, his team were in their fourth AOH Cup final, the opposition provided by Hibernians. While Denis was delighted with the march to the final, he was simultaneously boasting about his youths team who had reached the Second Division Cup final.

Most of that youths side now play in the Bosco's Utd team that currently lead the way in AUL 2B and won the Murphy's Stout AUL Team of the Month for December. What's the betting that most of them will be in the next Bosco's side to win the AOH?

McSweeney has two other major sporting interests: Gaelic Football and Manchester United. If you don't see him at a Boscos' game, the chances are he is over at old Trafford supporting Irwin, Keane, and company.

Gaelic football, he'll tell you himself, is his first love and it is not unusual for him to hold down a selector's position in the Midleton GAA club. So it was no surprise that once Sweeney took command that Gaelic footballers figured prominently on his teams. But then so too did hurlers, rugby players, karate champions, and so on.

Bosco's, founded in the mid sixties, were named after a local youth club and the first committee consisted of Tony Moore (today a major sponsor of the club and of soccer generally in the area), Donie Lordan, Declan O'Reilly, Patrick Coakley (the same Pa who later co-founded Fr Murphy's Youth club, the fore runners of Midleton AFC), Ned Lane, and Tony Horgan. Manager was John Cox, trainer was Patrick Roche, and the committee was chaired by Pat O'Hoare who was also chairman of the youth club. Fr John Murphy, R.I.P. was their first president.

Their first real success came in 1973 when they were successful in the County Cup. McSweeney became manager in 1976/77 and took immediate advantage of the abolition of a club rule that had previously restricted the management to picking players form the immediate Midleton area.

By 1980, they were a formidable force and proved it by beating higher ranked Greenmount Rangers in the final of the AOH Cup with the following team: Tony Horgan, Seanie Barry, Declan Barry, Kevin Barry, Denis McSweeney, Joe Hartnett, Ger Glavin (captain), Anthony Aherne, John "Scobie" Clery, Billy Aherne, and Anthony McSweeney.

Bosco's, by the way, were a second division outfit at the time. Skipper Glavin hit both their goals while the Greenmount score was scored by Pat Mulcahy from the penalty spot in that Friday evening match which was the highlight "without a doubt" to date of Sweeney's association with the Midleton based club.

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That triumph was the start of a great run for the Saints, slowing only when such stalwarts as Paddy O'Sullivan, Anto Sweeeny, Seanie Barry (now refereeing), and Kevin Barry retired and others, such as Willie Glavin, Anthony Ahern, and Dave Crotty, emigrated in the mid eighties.

Highlights from that successful decade (which included a run to the semi-final of the Munster Junior Cup) were the winning of AUL 1 in 1981/82, the St Michael's Cup triumph of 1982/83; in 86/87 they won the County Cup and were runners up in the AOH to Wilton. In the following season, Wilton again beat them in the AOH decider. In 89/90, they won the AOH and AUL 1B, and the youths came second in the 2nd Division Cup.

Sweeney's selection for the 1990 AOH final was: Ger Desmond, Kieran Murphy, Barry McMahon, Ger Glavin, Bobby O'Reilly, Joe Hartnett, Kieran O'Hanlon, Billy Aherne, Aidan Berry (captain), Owen McCarthy (who missed the 1980 triumph because of injury), and Martin Donnelly (Man of the Match). Bosco's won 1 - 0, the winner again by Glavin.

Denis is not just a manager shouting orders to the players from the touchline. Not just a touchline figure well known to referees. Sweeeny is an backroom organiser supreme but is also a frontline worker. Early arrivals, including referees, have seen him with the sleeves up clearing excess rainwater from Water Rock Park and doing a string of other similar tasks: cutting grass, lining the field. Sure, he is a character but a character who contributes.

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