John Daniel Cooney

2486 Manchester Regiment (6th Battalion)

John Daniel Cooney was a former Manchester FC player and a private in the 6th Manchesters. He hailed from Cahir in Tipperary, Ireland. According to the Freeman’s Journal, “from his youth he took a keen interest in sports.” He moved to Lancashire as an adult, and during peacetime he worked at Caleb Wright’s, a Tyldesley cotton mill. He was a member of the Fine Cotton Spinners and Doublers’ Association.

Cooney was a stalwart of Manchester rugby union in the years preceding the war. In Manchester FC’s 1913-14 season Cooney impressed and, as a result, was selected to represent Lancashire. The season previous, he scored eight tries for Manchester – not bad for a forward. Cooney played in Manchester’s final game before the war against Old Leysians. He was a fine athlete – he was also a member of the Manchester Athletic Club, of Fallowfield.

When war broke out he immediately joined the Manchesters. He died in the Dardanelles on the 29th May 1915, aged 26. A few days before his death, he refused a commission – very rare among Manchester FC players.

Upon news of his death, the Manchester Courier lamented that “Manchester Rugby Football Club has lost one of its most promising members.”

SOURCES
Manchester Courier
Freeman’s Journal
World Rugby Museum

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