Maigh Cuilinn's Peter Cooke pictured today ahead of the 2022 AIB Connacht GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final against Tourlestrane which takes place this Sunday, December 4th at 12.45pm at Pearse Stadium, Galway. The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships features some of #TheToughest players from communities all across Ireland. It is these very communities that the players represent that make the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships unique. Now in its 32nd year supporting the Club Championships, AIB is extremely proud to once again celebrate the communities that play such a role in sustaining our national games.
Maigh Cuilinn's Peter Cooke pictured today ahead of the 2022 AIB Connacht GAA Football Senior Club Championship Final against Tourlestrane which takes place this Sunday, December 4th at 12.45pm at Pearse Stadium, Galway. The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships features some of #TheToughest players from communities all across Ireland. It is these very communities that the players represent that make the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships unique. Now in its 32nd year supporting the Club Championships, AIB is extremely proud to once again celebrate the communities that play such a role in sustaining our national games. 

Peter Cooke enjoying Maigh Cuilinn adventure


By Cian O’Connell

There was a time, not that long ago, when Maigh Cuilinn would summon Paul Clancy out in the closing stages of a footballing year to help win vital matches. When Maigh Cuilinn’s need was great, Clancy always answered the call.

Clancy, part of a cherished All-Ireland winning group for Galway, is now very much involved in the administrative side of the club operating as Maigh Cuilinn chairperson.

A new wave of Maigh Cuilinn players have been manufactured in the intervening years, but the bond remains strong.

“I'd say if Paul got the chance he'd come out of retirement the next day too,” laughs Peter Cooke, an influential figure for Maigh Cuilinn, who face Tourlestrane in Sunday's AIB Connacht Club SFC Final at Pearse Stadium.

“There is a great link. Getting the right structures in place and knowing what is needed from an underage perspective and even at senior level, there is a huge amount of structural and development work done at the clubhouse over the last few years - a gym being put in place and dressing rooms.

“All of the sponsorship and everything, people that donate money, it is unbelievable some of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. It does feel special, I know a lot of clubs around Ireland that would say the same thing, but I definitely think Maigh Cuilinn has gone above and beyond.”

Claiming two out of the last three Galway SFC titles illustrates Maigh Cuilinn’s ability with manager Don Connellan making a significant coaching impact too.

Paul Clancy and David Wynne celebrate following Maigh Cuilinn's Galway SFC Final win over Salthill-Knocknacarra last month.
Paul Clancy and David Wynne celebrate following Maigh Cuilinn's Galway SFC Final win over Salthill-Knocknacarra last month.

“It is probably a testament to a lot of the work that has been done in the background over the last five to 10 years,” Cooke says. “You don't get instant gratification for all of the underage structures that have been put in place. Even from the age of 14, 16, 18 we've always had very good coaches, people that have looked after us in Maigh Cuilinn.

“I think we are reaping the rewards of that, long may that continue. I know there is a really good structure in place, Paul (Clancy) as chairman now, he is driving that on, and Don (Connellan) as our senior manager, he really has a good group involved and contributing in the same direction.”

While in the USA, Cooke missed Maigh Cuilinn’s first county title winning campaign in 2020 before featuring for club and Galway in 2021.

At the start of the 2022 inter-county season Cooke was based in the USA again for Titan HQ. Is it tough watching football games from afar?

“There is part of it that is bittersweet, you would love to be involved,” Cooke replies. “At the same time what makes those days special is the time that you invest to it. If you just turn up the day of a final, play or fly home for it you haven't put in the six or nine months of graft, the ups and downs, highs and lows. I think that is what really gives all of that context.

“I was delighted for the boys, I had made a decision to go away to pursue something else, to have my own adventure. That is something I wanted to do, I definitely have benefitted from.”

Since August Cooke has been based in the west of Ireland, relishing time spent between football and work.

Peter Cooke in action for Maigh Cuilinn against Salthill-Knocknacarra in the 2022 Galway SFC Final.
Peter Cooke in action for Maigh Cuilinn against Salthill-Knocknacarra in the 2022 Galway SFC Final.

“I work out of our US function, we have an office over there in Connecticut, I come online later in the day and finish up a small bit later. It is all good, the working from home and internet is a great thing.

“You'd be chomping at the bit to get away from the desk at times, to get down to the pitch or to meet the lads to do a bit. There has been a great balance for the last six months, I've really enjoyed being involved with the club, and everything that has been put in place. That is the key to it - the enjoyment. The success has followed, it has been good.”

With inter-county teams returning to collective training, Cooke will discuss with Galway manager Pádraic Joyce about his availability for 2023. “The way the county season goes it's probably kicking back up in the background now again, lads training and different bits and pieces,” Cooke says. "You really need to be hitting the ground running in December to give yourself the best chance.

“Those are important months to get miles in the bank and different bits and pieces and work on structures so that will definitely be a conversation that will be had before the Christmas, I'm sure.”

Galway’s potential was evident in an adventure culminating with an All-Ireland SFC Final appearance. “The two years before last were marred by Covid and different bits and pieces, you couldn't get a proper run at it,” he says.

“I was involved for one of them. Listen, there's a great structure in place, you can see that with Galway GAA and what Pádraic has put in place. In fairness, fair play to them.

“I know there will be injuries and different people away, but that revolving door will always keep spinning and there'll be plenty of young lads coming through in Galway with a really good pedigree that will fit right into that.”