Darren Sweetnam On How Much Keith Earls Helped Him Ahead Of His Ireland Debut

Full-fledged international.

When Darren Sweetnam walked about from a promising hurling career to fully focus on rugby, he never dreamed he would become an Ireland international, walking out in front of a full-house at the Aviva Stadium.

The former Cork hurler has enjoyed a remarkable 18 months, becoming a mainstay for Munster, before making his long-awaited debut in green against South Africa yesterday evening.

Perhaps unlucky not to tour in the summer, the man singled-out by Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll as a hugely promising prospect, Sweetnam took his chance in the few minutes he came on for, playing an instrumental role in the final try. Sweetnam says he loved every minute of the occasion.

“It was absolutely incredible, almost surreal,” Sweetnam told RTÉ Sport.
“Growing up as a young kid in Ireland, all you want to do is put on that green jersey. I was absolutely thrilled, and there was a good old roar, so I enjoyed that as well.
“I was getting goosebumps walking out with the fireworks and the smoke. It was something I have never experienced before but I loved every minute of it.”

One man who has been hugely helpful this week ahead of Sweetnam’s debut is Munster teammate Keith Earls, who was recently ruled out of the series with a hamstring problem. Sweetnam says Earls has been incredibly good to him.

“Keith Earls has been so good to me. He goes through every move with me. When he got injured, he came over to me to make sure I was okay with everything.”
“I never thought I’d get a cap. I won’t get ahead of myself, I have to keep working hard.”

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