Saturday 10 December 2016

Cooney thrilled to follow family footsteps to glory

John Fallon

Published 24/11/2015 | 02:30

Sarsfields captain Joe Cooney celebrates after the Galway County Senior Hurling Championship Final Replay
Sarsfields captain Joe Cooney celebrates after the Galway County Senior Hurling Championship Final Replay

There are not too many Galway hurlers who will look back on 2015 with joy but Joseph Cooney might be an exception after following in his father's footsteps and leading Sarsfields to glory.

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The 24-year-old was an inspirational captain as the former All-Ireland club champions came from well down the pack to end an 18-year barren spell and win their seventh Galway crown.

Cooney - whose father Joe and uncles Pakie, Brendan, Michael and Peter were the backbone of the side which won five county titles and successive All-Ireland crowns in the 1990s - remembers little of those days as he was too young.

"It's been a long time, 18 years coming. I'm absolutely over the moon. It's incredible," he said.

"I remember very little of those glory days. I was only a young lad.

"But it's been bred into us. We knew that if we put in the effort, we had the history and the backing of the club and we could go places. We're delighted that we've finally achieved our potential."

Cooney has followed his father into the Galway senior side and has a Leinster medal under his belt, but while he featured in most of the Tribesmen's games this summer he didn't get a run in the final against Kilkenny.

But he put that disappointment behind him lead from the front as Sarsfields came with an unexpected championship bid and after knocking out reigning champions Gort in the semi-finals, Cooney produced a man of the match performance to defeat Craughwell by 2-10 to 0-14 in Sunday's county final replay.

Now they will turn their attentions to a tilt at All-Ireland glory next spring, knowing that would be the ideal way for the club from the New Inn and Bullaun area of mid-Galway to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

"We'll take it step by step. We won't be going over the top. We'll enjoy the next few weeks and when the dust settles, we'll knuckle down again," he said.

"We'll be training for next year's championship anyway. It's nice to be there but from here it's a bonus. But we'll push hard."

Irish Independent

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