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.”
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