The start of this season was super exciting, with all the guys coming back and looking to build on last season’s success. Unlike last season, however, we were mixed in with the Premiership teams this year. It didn’t take long for us to be brought back down to earth with an opening defeat at home to Wandsworth Demons. This and a couple of other rough patches along the way this year are probably the best things that could have happened to us: to remind us that winning would never come easy.
The thing about London footy is that there’s such a high turnover of people coming in and out, working, travelling, etc., that you never know what to expect from your opposition until the first bounce. We built on our defeats and performed well against the other conference teams in the regular season but had our two toughest games, by far, against the Wandsworth 2’s followed by the Wildcats 2’s in the final. Thankfully, we were able to dig deep in the grand final and worked really hard as a group to defend the premiership. This made the winning feeling all the sweeter in the end.
A low for the season was our preliminary final against Wandsworth 2’s. We came into the game having won comfortably the week before against the same opposition. The second game was a totally different ball game, and they just came out hungrier and more willing to work for the footy. We knew we weren’t at the races, but at the time, we were looking at a last chance for a spot in the grand final the following week, and everyone turned up to training that week with a bit of hurt and a desire to right some wrongs. The way things worked out, we went straight through to the GF but kept that game in our rearview mirror as we geared up for the final.
For the high of the season, the most obvious is, of course, winning back-to-back premierships. That was always the goal, but the big difference between this season and last was playing against the top teams in London during the regular season and putting in a real shift against them too. There are years gone by where we’ve played those teams and knew we were beat before we ever touched a footy. This year, we came so close to the premier teams, and against North London in particular, we lost by a last kick of the footy. We were gutted, and everyone came off knowing that should have been us. There are huge positives to take from that, showing our progress as a club towards where we want to be.
A highlight for me is the new guys and girls that come along each year, and we had loads again this season. You’re involved in a club for a few years, and still, when someone new comes down, whether they are Aussie or from anywhere, everyone is just chuffed they want to be a part of it. Sharing highs and lows as a group is what sport is all about, and when you win, it’s an amazing feeling to see people that might not have experienced it last year getting involved this time around.
I’m looking forward to just getting involved again; it doesn’t really get old. We joke that during the season, we are nearly sick of each other by the end of it because the season is so short and snappy. When it’s over, it doesn’t take long to miss to craic of training on a Saturday or heading to the bucks head after on a Thursday night. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing a few more new faces to grow to the Swannies community.
I’ve been involved in the Swannies since the start of the 2019 season, and it’s honestly the best decision I made in moving to London. I wanted to do something different that would keep me fit with a bit of a competitive side to it. I never expected it to be so much more than that. Being asked to co-captain the team with Jacko this year really was a privilege. Jacko and I joined the same season, and it’s a real vote of confidence now that the coach and players trusted us with that role. I’ve really never experienced a sports team like this, that makes room for absolutely everyone who wants to be involved, and that’s exactly the type of group you want to lead if you’re lucky enough to get the chance, which thankfully this year I was.
About Irish Kev
I’m from Cork in Ireland, and played GAA my whole life, which most people think is just Gaelic Football, but it also includes Hurling too. This was also my favourite sport growing up. Telling the Aussies about hurling, they seem to think it’s like some sort of warfare, with the helmets and wooden sticks, but I’ve still never come close to as sore after a game of hurling, as I have after 80 minutes of footy. I actually started playing footy back in University College Cork—we were called the UCC bombers and played 9-aside. It was mostly GAA lads and Rugby lads who had liked the look of the jerseys, and wanted to try something knew, and it was great fun! Can’t say I knew many of the rules back then (and probably still don’t) but it was definitely clear that footy was something I wanted to keep playing for a long time after. Little did I know, there was a whole community of Aussies playing it in London, and I never looked back!