"Few would live up to the warrior that this man is" - Sweeney unflinching despite cruciate tear 8 months ago

"Few would live up to the warrior that this man is" - Sweeney unflinching despite cruciate tear

It's hard to keep a good man down.

All the best with Ronan Sweeney.

A stalwart of Kildare club football since the late 90s, it was back in 2000 when a Moorefield youngster was called into the county panel.

For 13 years he'd represent the Lillies with pride, Sweeney was always one of those lads you'd love to have on your team and one you'd dread playing against.

One you'd go to war with. One who'd stand up for his own.

2000 was the start of it all and wasn't it a good time to start out in Kildare. That was the year of their most recent Leinster championship victory and Sweeney, the sprightly 20-year-old gave Dublin lots of conundrums with his pace and physicality that day.

He'd stay doing that until the bitter end and though it wasn't an overly fruitful period for the Kildare footballers, there were plenty of near misses and Sweeney's tough and gritty presence ensured they were always there or thereabouts.

It's not in a Kildare jersey 'Roli' will be best remembered though. It's in the green and white of Moorefield which he still dons with distinction to this day.

More than 22 years on from his maiden season in 1997, Sweeney is still a key member of their forward line. Having won nine county championships in an illustrious club career as well as two Leinster titles, you would imagine the appetite would have weaned in one way or another but Sweeney was still there last Sunday, in the line of fire in Moorefield's Kildare SFC final clash with Sarsfields.

Never one to shirk a challenge, a collision resulted in a torn cruciate ligament for the 39-year-old but if you think he's going to be wallowing in self pity, you'd want to think again.

Sweeney was out training the club's under-21 team by Tuesday night as the road to recovery begins.

Whether he'll return at this stage is up for debate but it would take a brave punter to bet against them.

Johnny Doyle soldiered alongside Sweeney for years in the Lilywhite jersey and he paid tribute to his former teammate on Monday's GAA Hour.

"He looked in a lot of pain. I saw the stretcher coming out and I was thinking to myself, there'll be no stretcher taking Ronan Sweeney off here. He will not advertise that pain. True to form, he sat in the dugout on the far side and didn't leave until the game was over..."

On Twitter, Doyle gave Sweeney an even greater compliment.

"I've played with and against so many players down the years but very few would live up to the warrior that this man is," he added on his Twitter.

Ronan Sweeney, one of a kind.