Sean Cooke RIP

November 7, 2018

Sean Cooke, who sadly died on 8th August 2017, joined St Mary’s College RFC straight from St Mary’s College in 1954, having been a star player at the school.  He immediately made his mark, and soon became the outhalf on the senior team.  Being gifted as a player, and setting himself a punishing regimen of training, in skills, plays and kicking he was a model clubman.  He played in every match with a fierce, unrelenting passion, yet cool concentration, and most of all, selflessly for the good of the team.  He was the perfect team player and truest of sportsmen; he was ever fair and gracious.

By 1957-58 season, he was widely admired as a player and was an integral and invaluable member of Joe Fanagan’s marvellous team that for the first time in the club’s history, won the Leinster Senior Cup.  Another great player from that team Vincent McGovern, speaks of Sean as amongst the finest players with whom he ever had the honour to play.

He was captain of the club in 1959-60 and again in 1962-63.  He gained interprovincial honours as an outhalf, in 1961, and continued playing until the seventies, turning out every week for his club.  He switched to fullback and here he again excelled and was once more outstanding in Sean Lynch’s famous 1968-69 LSC winning team.

Many players and pundits, from that era and since, have averred that Sean Cooke was one of the greatest club players this country has ever produced.

Off the field, he was the gentlest, kindest and most modest of men, and was ever ready to help anyone who needed help or support. He had a keen sense of humour. He was universally popular.  In addition to his brilliant ability as a rugby player, he was likewise a top class golfer, playing out of Grange Golf Club, where he was also widely admired an liked.  He was of course too, a successful business man.  He was a dedicated family man and was devoted to his lifelong partner and wife, Carrie, who sadly predeceased him.  His sons too, played at St Marys and his family has contributed generously to the club.  His brother Noel, who sadly predeceased Sean, was likewise a former senior player and was president of the club in 1990-91.

There is deep sadness in the club at Sean’s death.

Sean Cooke, a truly great Marys’ man, will always have a special place in the hearts of the Marys’ membership.