'If you’re in there you have to be all in' - Peter Cooke on possible Galway return

'It’s probably the pinnacle of what I can do in my sporting career,' he says of playing inter-county football. 
'If you’re in there you have to be all in' - Peter Cooke on possible Galway return

DILEMMA: Peter Cooke of Moycullen (Galway).

As senior provincial final throw-in times go, Sunday’s Connacht 12:45pm is an early one, particularly for Peter Cooke.

Working US hours, it’s the equivalent of 7:45am for the 26-year-old who for a period of Moycullen’s season had been commuting from Connecticut with his work for cyber security firm TitanHQ.

Home for the time being having missed out on the county’s run to an All-Ireland, Pádraic Joyce earlier this week said “the ball is in Peter’s court” about a potential return to the panel. Work commitments have to be considered as does ensuring the midfielder-cum-forward can give Galway the best version of himself.

“It’s probably the pinnacle of what I can do in my sporting career,” he says of playing inter-county football. 

“At the end of the day, it’s an unbelievable honour to represent your county and to go out playing for Galway, win, lose or draw. It’s definitely important but over the past number of years I’ve had different things, different adventures and stuff that’s just part of life.” 

Cooke rankles a little about the idea he has unfinished business with Galway. 

“I’m only 26 so I definitely wouldn’t be hanging up the boots any time soon. There’s a lot of moving parts to the equation that I probably need to sit down and address in terms of work and living wise and different bits and pieces.

“Listen, when you’re in there I suppose you’ve got to enjoy the day-to-day of it as well and embrace all of that. You have to invest the time whether it’s six, nine, 12 months, it can be longer than that at times to build to something big.

“So, I’m conscious that if you’re in there you have to be all in. It’s kind of different to club level on that side of things.” 

Crossing the Atlantic for Moycullen revives memories of Jonny Glynn doing the same for Galway’s hurlers in 2017. 

“Funnily enough, he’s a great buddy of mine,” smiles Cooke. “I met him when I first moved out to New York. He texted me one night, said he’d meet me for a few beers and we clicked instantly.

“He’s a top man. Looked after me awful well over there. We also played with Sligo New York over there. So, we’ve had a chat about travelling and different bits and pieces, in between all the craic as well.” 

The level of Cooke’s dedication to Moycullen is illustrated by the fact he missed one game in the county championship. Having been Stateside for the club’s first ever senior success in 2020, scoring the winning goal in October’s final against Salthill-Knocknacarra opened his eyes to how much it meant.

"The relief of not losing was nicer than the enjoyment of winning. It was a special day. When you’re away, you sometimes don’t appreciate what effect the club has. That evening I realised what it means to people and families and the bond that I would have with so many people from Moycullen… it’s really special.” 

He was also absent for the Westport game but with a virus and returned for the edgy semi-final win over Strokestown. He anticipates another close encounter against Tourlestrane in Salthill on Sunday.

“They play a nice brand of football, that kind of counterattacking style. They get numbers back but they know what they’re doing when they get numbers back. And then they look to hit on the break but they’re quite skilful, that’s one of the things I’ve noticed. So I know they’ll definitely be quietly confident in terms of taking out a Galway club on their own patch.”

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