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*Clare minor football manager Dermot Coughlan with Joe Cooney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Former Clare GAA Chairman Joe Cooney has been praised for his “tireless” efforts during his five year term.

Cooney’s tenure as Chairman came to an end at County Convention earlier this month with Cratloe’s Jack Chaplin elected as his successor.

During his address to Convention, Joe sympathised with anyone impacted by COVID-19 and loyal supporters who were unable to travel to games. He commended GAA clubs in Clare for playing “a vital role in helping to maintain social life in the country” in the height of lockdown. He outlined that Clare GAA was also active in this regard by visiting isolated individuals, delivering meals and leading the community response.

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He said it was invaluable that both club and county championships were held in 2020. “Since the foundation of the GAA in 1884 as an organisation we played our championships through periods of political unrest, rebellion and World War. It was vitally important for the organisation to add the names of the 2020 winners to the roll of honour”. He also applauded the GAA’s efforts in commemorating Bloody Sunday.

Players continue to be “the lifeblood of the GAA”, the O’Callaghans Mills man said. He acknowledged officers’ “significant personal sacrifices to make Clare GAA the great organisation that it is today”. The continued support of Pat O’Donnell was lauded by Cooney.

Support from clubs throughout his tenure was a highlight for the Fine Gael county councillor who noted the “thousands of dedicated men and women” promoting the GAA in communities across Co Clare.

Joe admitted he was “proud and appreciative” to receive the support of clubs. “In return, I promised to work tirelessly for the greater good of Clare GAA. I can say without fear of contradiction that I have given everything that I had to give regardless of circumstances over those five years for the betterment of Clare GAA”.

Ex Chairman of Clare GAA and Munster Council, Robert Frost was among the first to praise Cooney on conclusion of his tenure and described him as “a great worker”.

An “enormous” level of work was completed by Cooney according to county secretary, Pat Fitzgerald. “Whether it was day or night anytime you were called on you were there. On a personal level, you have been most courteous to me and my family”. He added, “No journey was ever too long, no task ever too onerous and there was no problem that couldn’t be solved. I’d like to think those three things would have summed you up”. He was hopeful the outgoing Chairman would form part of a sub-committee of the County Board.

Newly elected Munster Council delegate Bernard Keane echoed the comments of Fitzgerald that Cooney must not be lost to the Association. “I hope you stay with the cause. You will be badly needed”.

“This won’t be the end of Joe Cooney, he will be back bigger than ever,” Chairperson of Bord na nÓg Iomaint, Neil O’Brien declared. Youth officer Sean O’Halloran said Joe was “a credit to Clare GAA”. Further plaudits were voiced by Treasurer Michael Gallagher, Doonbeg’s John Keane, James Meere of Lissycasey, Tulla’s Brian Torpey.

In response, Cooney thanked delegates for their kind words and added, “We get on with the job we’re elected to”.

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