In his rugby career to date Darren has represented Dunmanway RFC, UCC and Dolphin RFC, and is set to join Cork Constitution for the coming season. Impressive performances for Munster U20s in the Interprovincial series earned him a place in the Munster Academy at the start of the 2012/13 season, and having represented Ireland at the 2013 U20s 6 Nations, he won selection for the subsequent Junior World Championship in France, scoring two tries in his first outing against Fiji. A talented runner and dangerous in attack, he made his British and Irish Cup debut against Plymouth Albion in January 2013, making a further four appearances last season, touching down both at home and away to Stirling County.
Despite entering Year Three of the Munster Academy programme, this will be his first full pre-season with the province, and following surgery and rehabilitation on an injured ankle the West Cork-man is raring to go.
"I really can't wait to get back playing rugby. Following the operation I was stuck in the gym rowing and on the bike, when I'd much prefer to be out running, passing the ball and getting my match fitness that way.
"The challenge of a full pre-season is something that really excites me. The first year I joined half way through as I had Leaving Cert commitments and I also missed the start of last season as I was away with the Ireland U20s in France. The past couple of years has thought me how to organise myself and my training that bit better, I know now what I need to do and I plan to hit the ground running for what's going to be a massively important year for me.
"Trying to secure a Development contract at the end of Year Three is undoubtedly something that you think about. It doesn't play on my mind in a bad way though, I use it as motivation to put the head down and work as hard as I can for the coming season."
Darren and his Academy colleagues have spent the last two weeks training with the Munster Senior squad.
"Training with the Senior squad both this year and last year was a great experience, and hopefully I'll get some more time with the Seniors as the season goes on, as well as playing in all British and Irish Cup games. They are the levels I want to be consistently at for the coming season as they require the standards that progress you as a player."
Name: Darren Sweetnam
Favourite Food: Chicken wrapped in bacon
Book you are currently reading or have just finished: The Innocent Man by John Grisham
Favourite TV programme: Suits
Favourite Film: Shawshank Redemption
Favourite Actor/Actress: Will Smith
Most enjoyable holiday location: France
Marooned on a desert island what could you not be without: My phone
Favourite sport other than rugby: Hockey
The sport you least like: Football
Person you would most like to meet: Usain Bolt
Sportsperson you admire most: Roger Federer
Hobbies: Golf, cinema, reading, swimming
Where and when did you first play rugby: Bandon Grammar School, 1st year
Biggest influence on career: My parents
Best career advice you were given: Never ever give up
What you like most/least about being a rugby player: Playing matches/being injured
Other sports that you played: There are far too many to mention…
Best rugby memory: Scoring two tries against Fiji in the Junior World Championship
Rugby player you admire most: Johnny Wilkinson
Rugby team you admire most: All Blacks
Sporting event you would most like to attend: Wimbledon final
If you weren't a rugby player what would you be: Playing hurling for Cork
Place in the province you most to chill out: Kilbrittain, Cork
Have you any pre-match rituals: Nothing that I can think of
Favourite song or band you like to train to or listen to before a game: Magic by Coldplay/Tiesto
Who would you least like to room with and why: Well according to Rory Scannell, it has to be John
Madigan, he isn't called 'Snorlax' for nothing.