Cooke shines as powerful Moycullen claim first Connacht crown

A new golden era looms out west.
Cooke shines as powerful Moycullen claim first Connacht crown

4 December 2022; Liam Gaughan of Tourlestrane kicks a point under pressure from Neil Mulcahy of Moycullen during the AIB Connacht GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final match between Moycullen of Galway and Tourlestrane of Mayo at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Connacht Club SFC final: Moycullen 0-13 Tourlestrane 0-6 

Surging. A powerful finish from Moycullen captured their first ever Connacht title as they saw off Sligo’s seven-in-a-row champions Tourlestrane at Pearse Stadium.

The club have six representatives in Padraic Joyce’s squad this season. In a galaxy of stars, it was the absentee who dazzled. Peter Cooke was a constant force, laying on tackles, a reliable kick-out option and finishing with 0-3 from play. A 1-21 total in Galway and Connacht championship for the midfield powerhouse.

Sitting in the stand having made the trip from Cork was Galway coach Cian O’Neill. There is doubt he would love to get his hands on Cooke for 2023 if given half a chance.

Don Connellan’s men plotted and plodded their way through the opening exchanges, Dessie Connelly hitting all four of their first-half scores from frees. Then Moycullen’s remarkably athletic middle third put the foot on the pedal and roared forward.

It was controlled and measured trotting before a final sprint. They failed to convert two first-half goal chances, Paul Kelly unable to get a strong enough palm to a ball across the square and Gerard Davoren hitting the crossbar, but only kicked four wides. They conceded 13 frees but only one inside their own 45, coming in the final minute with the tie wrapped up.

Having delivered provincial silverware with Roscommon minors and seniors, Fergal O’Donnell set out this year seeking to repeat the trick with Tourlestrane. When John Kelly put them a point ahead midway through the first half with an excellent point from range, their management leapt up and roared for a full press on the subsequent kickout. Conan Marren soared and won it in the middle but they failed to make the most of that possession.

As game as the challengers were, that became a theme. They finished with seven wides, hit the post once, dropped one into Andrew Power’s hands and forced a good save in the final five minutes.

Three minutes after the restart, Owen Gallagher came thundering off the shoulder and drove deep from outside the 45 before unleashing a terrific right-footed effort. Suddenly Moycullen’s hugely athletic middle third came to the fore. They had runners everywhere and rattled off the next three scores.

The seven point margin was a fair reflection. On the same weekend their minors won the county title, Moycullen added to their two senior county triumphs in three years with a Connacht title. A new golden era looms out west.

Scorers for Moycullen: Dessie Connelly 0-4 (4 frees), Paul Kelly 0-2, Peter Cooke 0-3, Owen Gallagher 0-1, Micheal O’Reilly 0-1, Tom Clarke 0-1, Aidan Claffey 0-1.

Scorers for Tourlestrane: Liam Gaughan 0-3, John Kelly 0-2, Gary Gaughan 0-1.

MOYCULLEN: A Power, C Corcoran, S Kelly, N Mulcahy, E Kelly, D Wynee, A Claffey, P Cooke, T Clarke, G Davoren, O Gallagher, P Kelly, M O’Reilly, N Walsh, D Connelly (C).

Subs: Daniel Cox for Walsh (58), Evan Kenny for O’Reilly (61), Michael Moughan for Davoren (63) 

TOURLESTRANE: A Broe, JP Lang, J F Carr, B Walsh, O Kennedy, A McIntyre, N Gaughan, F O’Donnell, C Marren, K Gavigan, C Henry, J Leonard, G Gaughan (C), J Kelly, L Gaughan.

Subs: Niall Egan for Gavigan (45), Stephen Henry for O’Donnell (51), Rian Kennedy for Leonard (54), Kevin O’Hara for Gaughan (57), Aidan Marren for Kennedy (59)

Referee: Jerome Henry

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