Seconds Out: Cooke has the recipe for future success says Dee Walsh

Neil Loughran

GLEANN coach Dee Walsh believes exciting prospect Jordie Cooke can go far in the fight game after bringing home a bronze medal from the European Schools’ Championships.

The 6”4 14-year-old came up trumps at the Irish junior cadets back in June to secure his spot on the team bound for Turkey, producing polished performances to land a medal on his first major international outing.

Walsh has been working with Cooke – who boxes at 90kg - for the past four years, and has seen at first hand the strides the towering teenager has made. This, he insists, is only the beginning for a young man with plenty of promise.

“Jordie originally came to me to do one-to-ones, once a week, every Saturday at 7am,” said Walsh, a talented amateur in his own pomp who ended his professional career unbeaten.

“At that stage he was probably above average in terms of height, then during the first lockdown he really sprung up. But I always had belief in him, I always knew he was going to be brilliant.

“Even if Jordie wasn’t 6”4, he’s pretty skilled and pretty good at the things I want him to do. When he came to Gleann, after that we were working together every day and things really kicked on from there.

“His jab’s got a lot better, his check hook’s got a lot better, it’s really hard to hit him – as time goes on he’s getting hit less and less.

“Jordie knows nothing but boxing, this is his routine, to train in the morning and then some nights… he’s used to always training. Hopefully that type of attitude will stand by him, and he has a good family foundation behind him too.

“Everyone’s always pushing him.”

Walsh kept a close eye on proceedings in Turkey, and felt his protégé got a raw deal from the judges in his semi-final showdown with Latvia’s Emils Salm.

“I thought he won the first round, but somehow one of the judges scored it 10-8 against him. Stuff like that is hard to take.

“He had an even better second round, started throwing more right hands and landing, but because he was behind on three judges’ cards going into the third, he went out and tried to go for it in the last and he was wrecked.

“If the scoring had been as it should have been, he wouldn’t have come out with that approach. But winning isn’t the be all and end all now – this is all experience for him, and he has the talent to go far.”

The Irish team ended up third in the schoolboy medals table, and fourth in the schoolgirl placings after landing a total haul of 14 medals in Turkey - including golds for Elma Barry, Christian Doyle and Brandon Geoghegan.

Ellen Winnie Joyce, Carley O’Herron, Lauren Doherty-Crinnion, Alanna O’Brien and Jamesie Casey all claimed silver, with Cooke, Abbey Molloy, Chloe Louise Poleon, Daniel Joyce, Broderick Adbuire and Richard Daniel Kiely all taking bronze.


Flyweight Jack Harkin, from the Oakleaf club in Derry, recently took the Irish youth title in Dublin to put himself in the selection frame for the World Championships in Alicante in November. It was Harkin's third tough contest at the championships, having previously overcome Olympic, Mullingar's Carson Hanlon and Adam McKenna (Holy Family, Drogheda) before defeating Avona’s reigning U18 champion Aston Ruth in the decider. Harkin, who is pictured with coaches Eugene O’Kane jr and Raymond Rogan, joins club-mate Adam McIvor as Irish champion so far in 2022 and hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Oakleaf stars like Brett McGinty. The club celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year, continuing to go from strength to strength, with work due to begin shortly on new clubrooms