Jump to main content


Meet Albert McSweeney

Meet Albert McSweeney

He began working with the Irish senior squad two years ago and at the end of his first week, Keith Wood was asked who’s yer man’. Woody replied, He’s our new physio, Albert McSweeney

In fact he’s Ailbe McCormack. He’s a Manipulative Physiotherapist, Sports Therapist and an Acupuncturist. He’s from Mill Hill in London his father from Tipperary and he’s just after marrying Mary Kent who is from Clonmel. Mary is also a physiotherapist (with the David Lloyd Centre) which is probably just as well because with the type of lifestyle that her new husband’s job demands it may help her understand why she sees so little of him.

We got married a month ago and the day we arrived back from our honeymoon I had to leave for the pre New Zealand camp in Wicklow. Mary understands to an extent, she’s a very patient woman, but when I was in private practice it was a 9 to 5 day, but now it’s 8 to 12.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Now means whenever the Ireland squad is together and on tour McCormack’s day reads something like this.

8am – Rise.

8.30 – Management Meeting (Go through what players can/cannot train that day).

9-10. – Strap Players and then go training.

12-1 – Icing and rehab if required.

1.30-2.30 – Training followed by pool session.

5-6 – Treat players.

7.30-midnight – Evening Player treatment (manipulate, mobilize, stretching, electro therapy).

If it’s any consolation to Mary he doesn’t intend continuing at this particular job forever.

” It’s a very demanding job. You’re on the go seven days a week really because when they socialize you socialize with them you have to be part of the whole set-up. So it’s very hard to say I’d be doing this in ten years time. When I did the post-grad in sports, it was to work with a sports team and to work at the highest level and I’ve got to the highest level. So what I would like to do now is to develop the whole structure within the IRFU so that the physios coming through are all at a very high level and can then step up.

He has just been appointed overall IRFU physio co-cordinator, So that we can set up an injury data base, so that there’s a feedback loop. If any of the national players have a problem or training issue then I can tell the provincial physio what I think we should be doing and if they have an issue with a player they come back to me and let me know and if necessary I will go to that province and discuss the problem with the player.”

” As a connection between the coach, the doctor and me, I’m the loop, the person to get thing going. If a player has an injury, I’m to go in and see the specialist with them and if surgery is required hopefully I can go and watch the surgery being done so I can know from the word go where we have to go with the rehab.

He trained initially in Leeds and worked in hospital there and with Carlisle Rugby League club before moving to Australia where he did a year’s post grad in sports medicine in Western Australia where he also played rugby and. Came back and worked in Crystal Palace (London), went to South Africa and was team physio with Lloyds of London rugby team. He returned then to Australia where he did his Masters in Manipulative Physiotherapy in Queensland and came back then to work in Galway where his Irish rugby involvement began with the Irish Youth (U18) team. He was also team physio to the Corofin GAA Club when they won the All Ireland Club championship and he worked with the Galway senior side when Val Daly was boss.

His next move was to Leixlip in County Kildare where he set up his own practice and still found time to do a two year (part-time) course in acupuncture.

At one stage he was looking after Ireland Youth, Ireland A and the IRFU Academy which he says was really quite a lot until two years ago he moved up to the senior side (first games were Japan and Sth Africa.

As a wing/full-back he played in England at schoolboy provincial level, played at London Irish, at Headingley when Ian McGeechan was coach and in Western Australia, New Zealand (Marist in Christchurch and Wanake) and for Corinthians when he came back to Ireland. He quit soon after the reason being, not surprisingly, My involvement with teams became to big, I couldn’t get away myself.”

Interested in all sports, his first love has always been rugby. A keen paddler, he has done the Liffey Descent and the Avon Descent (Australia) and is also into hiking, running and cycling. He gave up work for a while four years ago to cycle over the Alps and the Pyreenes over three months because I needed to get away from rugby for a bit.

His travels have taken him all over the world, besides Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, he’s been to Indonesia, India, South America and while he says that his CV might suggest that I traveled to work, in fact for those years I worked to travel. And one of the goods things about my job is that I’m still able to travel.

His latest journey has taken him back to New Zealand where the last sight your editor had of him was when he stepped over the edge of Auckland’s Sky Tower. He looked as he always does, cool and calm and perfectly confident that he knew exactly what he was doing.