Sweeney, Pierce

Birth Date

11th September 1994

Birthplace

Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Occupation

Defender

Biographical Text

Pierce grew up in Bray and began playing schoolboy soccer at the age of eight, along with Gaelic football and hurling until he was 11. According to Pierce, football had been his singular passion since childhood, and he had long aspired to play professionally, believing that school was not for him. From the age of 11 he pursued football more seriously and gave up his other sports when he signed with renowned Dublin schoolboy club Belvedere for four years. His team there grew to be a dominant force in Irish youth football - they won two All-Irelands and ‘a couple of leagues’ producing ‘seven or eight’ underage internationals in the time he was there.

At 17, Pierce began his professional career with Bray Wanderers. He started out with the club’s U19 but after just six months, made his debut for Bray’s first time in a Premier Division away game to St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park. He registered 14 more league appearances for the club in the 2012 season.

The Irish starlet joined Reading from Bray in July 2012, which he described as a massive step up in terms of facilities and professionalism. He helped Reading win the 2013/14 U21 Premier League Cup, and was among a strong Irish contingent playing at the Royals at the time, including Ian Harte, Noel Hunt, Sean Long, and others. Unfortunately, after around four years with the club, he was released without having made a first-team appearance.

The following July, Pierce joined Exeter City after a successful trial, and a recommendation from former Exeter City manager and then head of the Reading academy, Eamon Dolan. Pierce’s deal was unique in being financially supported by a fans’ trust, with the 1931 Fund contributing £15,000 towards the defender’s wages.
The 1931 Fund – named after the year City made the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – is a group of supporters who, through a monthly payment, raise money to pay or help pay for an extra member of Paul Tisdale’s squad.

Pierce had a very successful first season at the club, playing 37 times for the Grecians in the 2016/17 season. With him, the team reached the League Two play-off final, although they ultimately lost to Blackpool in the play-off final.
In 2017/18 he played 43 games scoring 8 times, helping the Grecians reach the playoffs for the second year running, to lose out again after going down 3-1 at Wembley to Coventry City.
He played a further 43 games in 2018/19 scoring four times

Appearances

117

Goals

12

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