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Rugby Cat Senior Profile: Seamus Cooney

By Jacob Novak '19, 05/09/19, 11:00AM EDT


Cooney (second from left) stands with his teammates on the Cliffs of Moher.

Seamus Cooney grew up in South Euclid but during grade school moved to Westlake and attended St. Raphael for grade school.

Seamus is the eldest of five, with three brothers and the youngest being his sister. Seamus first saw rugby as a kid when the club was the Warriors before they were a part of the Saint Ignatius athletic machine. Seamus would watch his uncle, coach Connor Fitzpatrick '94, lead the Varsity cats.

“My whole life I was a baseball guy, it was my favorite sport to play,” says Seamus.

In addition to baseball, Seamus also played football. During his sophomore year Seamus, had a rough time at baseball tryouts and was ultimately cut from the team. He tried out for shot put but it “wasn't his cup of tea” so he decided to join the rugby team.

Seamus’ dad told his son “When God closes a door he opens a new one.” These words are some of the many words Seamus’s dad had told him

“Whenever I felt like quitting or giving up, my dad was always there to tell me to get back up and try again. Even though she won’t admit it I know before I went out to play my mom was nervous,” says Seamus.

Here are reflections from Seamus on his four years at Saint Ignatius.

Sophomore year: “I was cut from the baseball team and outcasted from my favorite sport in the world. I needed an outlet after school so I started throwing shot put. After a few practices I knew that I needed to play a contact sport and rugby was the perfect home for me. My dad and Bez told me, “When God closes a door he always opens a window.”

Junior year:  “My year was sadly cut short by a season-ending MCL and meniscus tear that required major reconstructive surgery.”

Senior year:  “After losing to Ed in the football playoff game, I counted down every single day till the start of the rugby season.  I grew more and more excited to play the sport I love with my brothers.”

Seamus is traditionally a second rower but has been a nomad this season, being moved all around the pack from hooker and flanker and second row. Seamus had a very tough time learning to play, due to the poor timing of his first season having joined the rugby team at the halfway point of the season. But that didn’t break Seamus.

“I definitely felt pressure not just sophomore year, but even now, because I lost last season to injury I feel like I am constantly learning and improving.”

Seamus will be attending West Virginia University in the fall and will be majoring in Entrepreneurship. One day, he hopes to start his own business. I asked Seamus why WVU, and he said: “When I visited, I just fell in love with Morgantown, and the club rugby team reached out to me about playing and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a Mountaineer.

“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own business, I won a business competition freshman year with a beverage business and then sold Saint Ignatius hoodies my sophomore year. I am always trying to start new businesses because I love the feeling of creating something and putting a product out there into the world.”

Seamus would like to thank the following people: “First off, my Dad and for always pushing me to be better, my mother's unconditional support, my grandparents Ed, Patricia, Kevin, and Molly, my younger siblings: Aidan, Finn, Patrick, and Katherine. Also my Uncle Connor, aka Coach Fitz, for being there to welcome me into the game of rugby. Also Seamus McCarthy for pushing me on and off the field to be the best competitor that I can be.”