Westmeath manager Jack Cooney, left, and player David Lynch, right, with the boys football team from Milltown NS.

Fun as important as winning, Cooney tells all conquering Milltown NS team

“Fun and enjoyment” are more important than winning when you are playing football or sport.

That was the sage advice given by Westmeath manager Jack Cooney to the all conquering boys team from Milltown NS and their fellow students.

At a medal presentation ceremony in Milltown Community Centre yesterday afternoon, the Westmeath head coach told the students that whatever level you play sport at, the most important things are that you have fun and have a physical outlet.

“The one thing that we really emphasise when playing with Westmeath is that we have fun and we have enjoyment and that we make good friends. It never really changes the whole way up through.

The other thing I really like about sport is that it is a great way to exercise. It keeps you active.”

In the space of a couple of recent weeks, Milltown NS won the Iggy Fulham Cup and followed it up by claiming the Division 5 Cumann na mBunscol title by defeating Kilcleagh NS, Castledaly. They also came out top in their annual clash against Sonna NS to win the Michael Galvin trophy.

Congratulating them on their success, Jack stressed that “it's not all about winning”.

“These (pointing to the trophies) are just a symbol of your effort, your friendship and your ability.

Always put enjoyment, fun,making friends and being grateful to your parents, school teachers and coaches [first]...”

Addressing the large crowd of parents who attended the event, Jack said that it important that children carry on playing sports as they get older.

“I'd say keep them at it. It's brilliant at this age, but maybe in the next few years they might start questioning it. The one great benefit of staying involved is that it gives you great habits for a lifetime in terms of exercise, health and fitness and well-being. I can't emphasise it enough. We are just very lucky we get to do it at a reasonably good level.”

The principal of Milltown NS John Gordon thanked Jack and Westmeath player David Lynch for attending the event, which also doubled up as the school's monthly assembly.

Describing Milltown as one of the finest parishes in Westmeath, John also paid tribute to the parents and the wider community for all of their support shown to both the team and the whole school throughout the year.

See next week's Westmeath Examiner for full photographic coverage of the event