*Clare nook ahead, Gavin Cooney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Fresh from the minor ranks, Gavin Cooney was recruited onto the Clare senior panel by Colm Collins to make his debut in 2018, now off the again of their condensed League bid he finds himself as a go-to alternative at nook ahead within the aspect.
To earn the quantity 13 jersey, he must struggle off competitors from Keelan Sexton, Podge Collins, Aaron Griffin and Joe McGann however it’s a battle that Cooney has the sting in given his spectacular performances throughout the Allianz National Football League.
2021 marked the primary time since Gavin joined the senior panel that he began all video games within the competitors. He would additionally contribute on the scoreboard with a return of 1-03 in 4 video games, the objective serving to to carry to life Clare’s comeback bid in opposition to Mayo.
In the previous month, he turned a member of Dromoland Golf Club, sub-goalkeeper Tom O’Brien is pinpointed by the Éire Óg clubman because the worst golfer on the panel. He has discovered the game and the odd stroll on the seaside to be very useful in switching off from soccer.
Securing a beginning jersey was an goal from the get-go for the Ennis native when the mud settled on their disappointing 2020 championship. “It was one thing I got down to do in the beginning of the lockdown, it gave me time to replicate and see what I used to be doing fallacious and what might be improved. My major goal was to get a beginning jersey for the primary recreation of the league, fortunately all of it went nicely and I’ve managed to maintain it for the entire league marketing campaign, hopefully I can maintain doing the identical”.
This feat is all of the extra spectacular given the calibre of gamers accessible to Colm Collins on the sideline. “The competitors this yr might be the toughest yr to have made the beginning staff with the gamers coming by way of and placing up their hand, the energy in depth is obvious to see. You can with the lads approaching off the bench, they’re all making it stronger than the gamers coming off so it is extremely good to see”.
Personal targets have been additionally earmarked by the LIT enterprise scholar. “When I first went in again in 2018, I used to be one of many smallest within the nation taking part in senior, I recognized in December after final yr’s championship completed that it was an space I may enhance. In equity now we have the most effective S&Cs within the nation in Rob Mulcahy, he gave me a programme and I caught to it, I managed to construct up a little bit of energy which I really feel helps me drastically within the league marketing campaign simply gone, it allowed me to win my very own ball a bit simpler than what it was, a variety of that’s right down to Rob”.
“I wasn’t one of the best for the weight-reduction plan in years passed by, I’ve actually purchased into it this yr and in equity I can’t complain with the way it has gone, I can see myself and Rob is telling me there’s a massive distinction. The weight-reduction plan is the largest change and making an attempt to raise as heavy as I can. Besides the energy I’ve put a bit of labor into my weak foot, my proper foot and having the ability to shoot off each ft permits you to put an additional doubt within the defender’s thoughts, I’m working with arguably the most effective forwards within the nation in David Tubridy, I’ve been asking him for ideas and seeing him stroke the ball over together with his left and proper actually provides you a drive and motivation to have the ability to do the identical. Getting my proper foot stronger and being extra comfy kicking off that was one in every of my objectives which appears to be working”.
Killarney awaits on Saturday night, the magnitude of the duty is aided by their stern encounter with Mayo lower than two weeks in the past, Gavin maintained. “You need to maintain their forwards as fairly as potential, they’ve six unbelievably gifted forwards and making an attempt to maintain them quiet if we are able to do that it’ll give us an amazing platform to go and assault them on the opposite finish, it’s going to take fifteen males and the 5 subs that come on, it’ll take unbelievable workrate and dedication to recover from the road”.
“Division 1 is the place each footballer needs to be and testing your self in opposition to one of the best. It was one of the best take a look at we may have gotten for the Kerry match was to play Mayo, we noticed within the first half after they have been actually motoring it gave us a taster of what’s to come back. It is absolutely good to see that we have been capable of compete with them, we beat them pretty nicely within the second half which supplies us a variety of confidence that we are able to do it in opposition to one of the best”.