‘This one’s for you, brother’
Coogan lifts cup for ‘Coney’
‘LADS, I’m standing up here for this man, Peter Coney, this one’s for you brother,’ said Kiltegan captain Eoin Coogan as he held aloft the number four jersey worn by his late colleague and dear friend Peter Coney who would have been the happiest man in Aughrim last Saturday had we not all been robbed of his wonderful presence due to a tragic accident.
‘This is what we’ve been going out in every match and into every dressing room thinking about and we’ve wanted to do something and win something for him.
‘This was his passion coming towards the end of the year. At the start of the year before the accident happened, Peter Coney rang both Junior football and hurling managers and said that he was going to tog out for both of them.
‘Now, at 54 years of age it was a fair feat and there was no one going to stop him either,’ said Eoin Coogan after he delivered an excellent captain’s speech.
‘He was the driving factor, but in fairness it was the lads as well. We’ve a great bunch of lads here. The camaraderie we’ve had all year, the craic we’ve had, there’s never a dull moment in the dressing rooms. We’ve always been able to push on and pull it out of the bag at the very end,’ he added.
The Kiltegan team that defeated a gallant Bray Emmets had a rich mix of youth and maturity with Blessington’s Kevin Quinn, Andy Foley and Eoin Coogan standing shoulder to shoulder with such legends of Wicklow and Kiltegan hurling as Jeffrey Bermingham, Christy O’Toole and Anthony Furlong.
Eoin Coogan says the older players are a huge influence on the team and are always supportive to the younger soldiers.
‘There is a huge mix. In fairness to the older lads, they’re great. It doesn’t matter, if anyone drops the head, drops a ball, doesn’t matter, the lads will encourage them. There’s never a bad word. They’ve been there. If you were to get together and count all the medals in that Kiltegan dressing room we’d be here until next Wednesday. We’d never get to Juniors tonight,’ he said.
Experience in finals and big days is what swung it for this Kiltegan side in Eoin Coogan’s opinion.
‘I think what swung it for us is that we’ve been here before. I’m 24 years of age and this is my fourth Junior ‘A; medal, and I’ve a Junior ‘B’ and a ‘C’ medal as well, we’ve done it, we have the experience, and we know how to win on the day. We’re a championship team at the end of the day, Kiltegan always are a championship team. We know how to dig it out,’ he said.
Kiltegan’s Seniors came close to shocking Carnew and now the Juniors have lifted the Junior ‘A’ cup, where does that leave hurling on the Carlow border.
‘We’re in a healthy place going forward with the hurling. We’re averaging maybe 20 to 23 players down training which, if you looked two years ago, you’d never have thought would be the case. If we can continue it on and continue to build.
‘The senior team came on leaps and bounds this year. I know it was a bad loss to Carnew but we really out hurled Carnew on the day. So, if we can continue and keep going, like, we’re a young team. Rory Finn was the oldest on that team and the next after him is Michael Mangan and he’s 27 or 28 so we have a young base to work off and hopefully we can build on it and push on,’ he said.
And being captain of such a quality side.
It’s an amazing feeling,’ he said.
Kiltegan captain Eoin Coogan hoists the Junior ‘A’ cup over his head in Aughrim last weekend.
Jeffrey Bermingham puts pressure on Bray’s Eoin Mason.