Joe Cooney

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Joe Cooney
Personal information
Irish name Seosamh Ó Cuana
Sport Hurling
Position Centre-forward
Born (1965-03-17) 17 March 1965 (age 52)
Bullaun, County Galway, Ireland
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Occupation Farmer
Years Club
Club titles
Galway titles 5
Connacht titles 3
All-Ireland Titles 2
Years County Apps (scores)
1983-2001 Galway 35 (10-102)
Inter-county titles
Connacht titles 3
All-Irelands 2
All Stars 5
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 16:16, 24 May 2014.

Joseph "Joe" Cooney (born 17 March 1965) is an Irish retired hurler who played as a centre-forward for the Galway senior team.[1]

Born in Bullaun, County Galway, Cooney first played competitive hurling during his schooling at St. Raphael's College. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of seventeen when he first linked up with the Galway minor team, before later joining the under-21 side. He made his senior debut during the 1983 championship. Cooney immediately became a regular member of the starting fifteen and won two All-Ireland medals, three Connacht medals and three National Hurling League medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on four occasions.

As a member of the Connacht inter-provincial team on a number of occasions, Cooney won four Railway Cup medal. At club level he is a two-time All-Ireland medallist with Sarsfield's. In addition to this he has also won three Connacht medals and five championship medals.

Cooney's brother, Jimmy, was also an All-Ireland medallist with Galway while his son, Joseph, also lined out with Galway.

His career tally of 10 goals and 102 points ranks him as Galway's fifth highest championship scorer of all-time.

Throughout his career Cooney made 35 championship appearances. He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling on 24 January 2001.[2]

Cooney is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. During his playing days he won five All-Star awards in six seasons as well as being named Texaco Hurler of the Year in 1987. He has been repeatedly voted onto teams made up of the sport's greats, including at midfield on the Club Hurling Silver Jubilee Team and at centre-forward on the Galway Hurling Team of the Millennium and the Supreme All-Stars team.[3] Cooney was also chosen as one of the 125 greatest hurlers of all-time in a 2009 poll.[4]

Early life[edit]

Joe Cooney was born in Bullaun, County Galway in 1965. The tenth child in a family of fourteen, he was educated locally and he later St. Raphael’s secondary school in Loughrea. Here his hurling skills came to the fore and he was quickly spotted by the Galway inter-county selectors.

Personal life[edit]

Joe's eldest son Joseph was a member of the successful Galway minor hurling team of 2009. He played at wing-back in that game. Joseph was also a member of the Galway under 21 panel of 2010, which lost the final to Tipperary. Joseph has also won an all-ireland vocational school title with St. Brigids of Loughrea and is currently a member of the Galway senior panel.[5]

Playing career[edit]


Cooney played his club hurling with his local Sarsfield's club and enjoyed much success. He first tasted success in 1984 when he won a county under-21 title. Five years later in 1989 Cooney captured his first senior county title before later winning a Connacht club title. In the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final Sarsfield’s played Ballyhale Shamrocks. It was an unprecedented occasion as five Cooney brothers lined out against seven Fennelly brothers from Ballyhale. Unfortunately for Cooney it was the Fennellys who ended up on the winning side on that occasion. 1992 saw Cooney win a second county title. He later captured a second Connacht club title before lining out in his first All-Ireland club final against Kilmallock. The game was very close for much of the hour, however, with five minutes to go Cooney sent a long-range free into the net to secure an All-Ireland club medal for himself. Sarsfield’s retained their county and provincial club titles in 1993 and Cooney later lined out in his second consecutive All-Ireland final. Once again Cooney proved to be one of the heroes of the game. A sixty-fifth-minute goal, set up by Cooney, gave Sarsfield’s the victory over Toomevara and gave Cooney his second All-Ireland club medal. Cooney added a fourth and a fifth county and Connacht club medal to his collection in 1995 and 1997.


Cooney first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Galway minor hurling team in the early 1980s. He won an All-Ireland medal in this grade in 1983 after Galway defeated a Dublin team that contained a young Niall Quinn. Three years later in 1986 Cooney won an All-Ireland medal with the Galway under-21 team following a defeat of Wexford.

By this stage Cooney was also lining out with the Galway senior hurling team. He made his debut in 1985 and lined out in his very first senior All-Ireland final. Offaly provided the opposition on the day and the game was a close and exciting one. Cooney scored a goal towards the end, however, it was disallowed. This might have turned the game for Galway; however, Offaly went on to win on a score line of 2-11 to 1-12. In spite of losing the game Cooney was later presented with his first All-Star award. In 1986 Cooney lined out in his second All-Ireland final. Cork provided the opposition on that occasion, however, Galway were the red-hot favourites for the title. After an exciting game between the two sides Cork emerged victorious on a score line of 4-13 to 2-15. In spite of losing the championship decider for a second year in-a-row, Cooney’s performance still earned him a second All-Star award. 1987 saw Cooney collect his first National Hurling League title before lining out in a third consecutive All-Ireland final. After a low-scoring game against Kilkenny Galway finally triumphed on a score line of 1-12 to 0-9 and Cooney collected his first senior All-Ireland medal. Once again he was presented with a third All-Star award. In 1988 Cooney made his fourth consecutive appearance in the championship decider with Tipperary lining out against his side. Noel Lane, the goal-scoring hero of the previous year’s final once again scored at a crucial time, giving Galway the victory and giving Cooney a second consecutive All-Ireland medal. In 1989 Cooney won a second National League title and Galway looked a good bet to win a third championship in-a-row. Unfortunately, star centre-back Tony Keady was controversially suspended from playing for a year. This set the tone for Galway’s championship campaign and they were later dumped out of the championship by Tipperary in an ill-tempered All-Ireland semi-final. In spite of losing out Cooney still collected a fourth All-Star award. In 1990 Cooney was appointed captain of the Galway team. That year his team reached a fifth championship decider in six seasons. Like 1986 Cork provided the opposition and, once again, Galway were regarded as the red-hot favourites. Cooney put in a brilliant performance in the first half and Galway went seven points up at one stage. In spite of this Cork fought back and won the game on a score line of 5-15 to 2-21. It was bitterly disappointing for Cooney; however, he was later presented with a fifth All-Star award. The following few years saw Galway’s fortunes take a downturn. The team did make it to the All-Ireland final in 1993, however, Kilkenny emerged victorious on that occasion. The great Galway team of the 1980s was now after being broken up, however, Cooney continued playing and captured a third National League medal in 1996. In spite of this he had little other success and he retired from inter-county hurling in 2000.


Cooney also lined out with Connacht in the Railway Cup inter-provincial competition. He captured his first winners’ medal in this competition in 1986 as Connacht defeated Munster. Cooney won further inter-provincial honours in 1987, 1989 and 1991.


  1. ^ "Joe Cooney". Hogan Stand. 6 November 1992. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Moran, Seán (24 January 2001). "Cooney yields Galway shirt he graced so well". Irish Times. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Breheny, Martin (28 November 2001). "Residents of Quality Street form another galaxy". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Breheny, Martin & Keyes, Colm (4 November 2009). "Henry Shefflin and Jack O'Shea reign supreme as our search for the top hurler and footballer of the past 125 years concludes". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  5. ^
Preceded by
Ger Cunningham
Texaco Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Tony Keady
Preceded by
Aidan Fogarty
Interprovincial Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Pete Finnerty
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Conor Hayes
Galway Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by

Template:Galway Under-21 Hurling Team 1986