Belfast Telegraph

Cooke has recipe for success in his third spell at Inst

By John Flack

Paul Cooke last night admitted that he had to think long and hard before taking over as Instonians coach for a third spell at the helm.

The former Ireland vice-captain has busy work commitments in banking and his job often takes him out of the country. But after much deliberation he finally agreed to take up the offer and now he's looking forward to the challenge.

"Yes I admit I had a few reservations when I was asked would I be interested." he explained.

"But when I weighed things up it's a different scenario from my two previous spells and that was something which helped me reach my decision.

"Firstly it's primarily a very young squad we have this season and that's a challenge for me to be working with those players.

"Secondly the club now has it's own facilities at Shaw's Bridge and they are absolutely superb.

"So, all in all, while I had some misgivings at the start I'm really looking forward to working as a coach again."

Cooke says the target for the season is to reach the All Ireland play-offs and that would mean a top three finish to guarantee the trip to Dublin.

Instonians have lost a couple of players but have gained the services of a few more including Irish international Mark Gleghorne, who has graduated from Loughborough and Stephen Symington who has returned from Civil Service.

With the departure of last season's first team keeper Andrew Coates to North Down the number one jersey will be disputed by Andy Seay and Richard Johnson.

The season kicks off today with the opening round of Kirk Cup fixtures and the new Instonians coach will have a chance to consider his options when they travel to Queen's to face the students.

Today's Kirk Cup fixtures: Section A: Kilkeel v Raphoe (2.30pm), North Down v Annadale (2.30pm); Section B: Mossley v Harlequins (2.30pm), Queen's v Instonians (1.00pm); Section C: Bangor v Civil Service (2.30pm), Portadown v Cookstown (1.00pm); Section C: Lisnagarvey v Antrim (2.30pm), South Antrim v Banbridge (1.00pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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