‘This one’s for you, brother’

Coogan lifts cup for ‘Coney’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Aughrim

‘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.

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