Sunday 20 August 2017

'We wanted justice': Teen who lost his case against football club defends parents for taking legal action

'I'm very proud of my parents for taking the stand for me'

Sean Cooke at Cork District Court with his parents Declan and Sharon Cooke. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Sean Cooke at Cork District Court with his parents Declan and Sharon Cooke. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

Kathy Armstrong

A teenager has defended his parents' decision to sue his former soccer club after he was dropped from the team, and said "justice was served" even though he lost his case.

Sean Cooke (18) claimed ill treatment by coaches at the club and said he suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after he was dropped from Carrigaline United when he was 13 years of age.

Sean told the court that he had dreamed of playing football in the UK but wasn't able to perform for British scouts when he was dropped from the team.

He lost his case at Cork Circuit Court yesterday.

But Sean, from Highfields, Ballea Road, Carrigaline, Co Cork, said he is proud of his legal action.

He said in a statement published on social media: "We wanted justice to be served."

Sean Cooke leaves Cork Court with his parents Sharon and Declan Cooke Photo Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts
Sean Cooke leaves Cork Court with his parents Sharon and Declan Cooke Photo Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

The young man said he "had to leave the club I played for and loved since the age of six" as a result of being dropped from the team.

Sean continued: "I'm very proud of my parents for taking the stand for me and sticking up for what was the right thing to do...

"We feel justice has been served as this case has now been exposed and we can move on from these traumatic years and leave this case behind us."

Sean also said that the case was "nothing to do with 'getting a game' as many people have shown".

Read More: Teen who sued football team for 'PTSD' after being dropped by coach loses case

Carrigaline United had previously been managed by Sean Cooke's father Declan.

Coach Tim Mawe took over managing the team in 2011 and said everything was done to accommodate Sean but he said the teen missed a lot of pre-season training in 2012 because of an injury. When the season began Sean had to come off the pitch on one occasion because he was injured.

His father Declan brought a no-confidence motion against the Carrigaline United in the 2012-2013 season but was outvoted by other parents by 9 to 2.

Mr Mawe said everything possible was done to accommodate Sean at the club.

He conceded he was very hurt when Declan Cooke brought a vote of no confidence against him. However, he rebuffed suggestions from the plaintiff's barrister that he took any bad feelings out on Sean. "We picked on merit," he said.

Sean Cooke claimed that prior to a match with Ballincollig during the 2012 season Mr Mawe pulled him aside and said that he wasn't good enough to play. Mr Mawe denied this. Mr Mawe said Mr Cooke's mother arrived at the match and once she realised her son wasn't playing there was a "huge commotion".

Barrister for the plaintiff told the court that Sean Cooke didn't get the opportunity to play during a match which was attended by an Aston Villa talent scout.

Judge O'Donnabhain said it was an "emotional" and "difficult" case. He said Declan Cooke was undoubtedly a "caring parent" but that he was not "over-blessed with insight".

In dismissing the case he stated that coach Tim Mawe appeared to be "conscientious and truthful". A ruling on costs will be made at a later date.

Carrigaline Soccer Club has been contacted for comment.

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