With only 13 months between them it is easy to see the bond between brothers Joe and Jack McDade.

Jack is the elder, although younger brother Joe stands taller. At just 17 that height has helped Joe become one of the dominant midfielders in schools football this year with his partnership with Brandon Horan a big part in St Michael’s success.

This Saturday he and his team look to become the first team from the school to win a Hogan Cup when they take to the sacred turf of Croke Park.

Jack hopes to be there to cheer little brother on. If he is off the boat in time, that is. Jack is an International standard rower who has been scaling the heights with both Enniskillen Royal Boat Club and Ireland in the past year and this Saturday he will be competing himself in Dublin at the Neptune Regatta.

“If I do really well, I might not make the game, but I am hoping that I can. I don’t want to miss it and I have been to every MacRory game so far this year.”

The weekend before Joe won a MacRory Cup, Jack was rowing to history in in the Schools Head of the River in London.

“We raced against all the top English public schools and we came sixth which was the top placing of an Irish school ever,” Jack explained.

The McDade boys certainly show that the opportunity is alive and well to excel at any sport in the county and with a supportive family, they are sure to reach their potential with Jack explaining that in the event of a sporting clash the McDade parents would likely go their separate ways for the day:

“I think depending on what the competition was and how important it was one parent would probably go and watch me and the other would go to Joe,” Jack revealed.

Last year Jack pulled on the Irish jersey and along with fellow ERBC team-mates competed in Junior Mens Coxed Fours for Ireland the Coupe de la Jeunesse. They rowed to a third place behind Italy and Great Britain.

Jack made the switch to ERGS from St Michael’s with the increased exposure to rowing playing a big part in his decision and it is clear the elder McDade has the course of his sporting future all charted out:

“I was at St Michael’s for a few years but moved to ERGS last year and that has helped with the rowing. I want to go on and row for my university and hopefully row for Ireland again at a higher level.”

The two brothers played Gaelic football together at underage level with Lisnaskea but since Jack has concentrated on rowing, they have had to be content with watching each other excel at their chosen sports.

“I try and watch Jack as much as possible when he races, it can be tough at the weekends because there is always football on and Jack’s races are usually in Belfast or Dublin, but when I can I always watch him row,” Joe explained.

When it comes to training regimes the brothers are asked who has the tougher schedule and Joe answers without hesitation:

“Jack, definitely. It is crazy.”

Jack laughs but admits that it does “get a bit hectic at times” before explaining a regime that includes training every day of the week and on three days of the week training twice.

“I think I will stick to the football,” laughs Joe ahead of another top class sporting weekend for the dedicated and talented brothers.