Seán Cooke’s father says his son’s dream of playing in the UK was harmed when he was denied the opportunity to play in front of talent scouts
An Irish teenager has lost a case taken against his former football club, where he claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after he was dropped from the team as a 13-year-old.
Seán Cooke, 18, sued Carrigaline United over alleged ill treatment by coaches at the club. Cooke told Judge Seán O’Donnabhain at Cork circuit court that he was a good player who hoped to play professionally in Britain, but was not given the chance to play in front of talent scouts after he was allegedly dropped.
His father, Declan Cooke, brought a vote of no confidence against the club’s coaches in the 2012-2013 season, the Irish Independent reports . He lost by a vote of 9 to 2.
Tim Mawe, who succeeded Declan Cooke as manager of the club in 2011, said everything possible was done to accommodate Seán.
Mawe said Seán played regularly during the successful 2011-2012 season, but he was told by other parents that there was “non-stop complaining” about the club’s management from his father.
The court heard Mawe was very hurt when Cooke brought the vote of no confidence against him, but rejected suggestions from barrister Matthew Maguire that he took any bad feelings out on Seán. “We were volunteers. We were doing a great job. It was hurtful. There was no appreciation. He was the same as any player. We picked on merit.”
Mawe said Seán was injured in the summer of 2012, missed a lot of pre-season training as a result and had to come off the pitch one time because he was injured.
Seán Cooke told the court that before a game in 2012 Mawe pulled him aside and said that he was not good enough to play. Mawe denied this, saying Seán Cooke’s mother arrived at the match and once she realised her son was not playing there was a “huge commotion”.
Maguire told the court that Cooke was not allowed to play during a match which was attended by a talent scout from the English club Aston Villa .
The judge said it was an “emotional” and “difficult” case and that Declan Cooke was undoubtedly a “caring parent” but was not “over-blessed with insight”.
In dismissing the case O’Donnabhain said Mawe appeared to be “conscientious and truthful”.
In a statement published on Twitter, Seán Cooke said he had no regrets in taking the case. “We wanted justice to be served,” he wrote.
Cooke added that he “had to leave the club I played for and loved since the age of six” as a result of being dropped from the team.
“I’m very proud of my parents for taking the stand for me and sticking up for what was the right thing to do ... We feel justice has been served as this case has now been exposed and we can move on from these traumatic years and leave this case behind us.”