How Imokilly v Sars yet again proved that Bill Cooper is the unsung hero of the side

23 September, 2019

Bill Cooper’s performance on Saturday night against Sars may have not grabbed all the headlines however it further proved he is the unsung hero not only for his divisional side but for club and county also. Without getting on the score board, Bill produced a stunning performance. As the saying goes the stats don’t lie! His performance can be broken down into two categories; offensive work and defensive work. Starting off with the latter, his defensive work was absolutely crucial in closing phase of the game as he somewhat disengaged from the attacking aspects of the game to help the backs defend against a late Sarsfields surge. Just before Cooper dropped back, Sars had scored four of the last five scores, to reduce the lead to six. The extra defensive focus from Bill is really reflected in the fact Sars didn’t get a single score in the final ten minutes of play. Out of the two sending offs, William Kearney’s proved the most detrimental as it allowed Cooper to more freedom in the defensive side of the game.  Notably, the Youghal man didn’t give away free throughout the whole encounter, the only midfielder to do so, while also winning one free himself. His ball carrying relieved the backs as he acted as the anchor between defense and attack. He also completed eight passes, all of which were forward. Of his attempted passes over 70% found an Imokilly man, unbelievable accuracy! He also provided one assist and provided the hand pass for Dalton as he was fouled for Imokilly’s penalty. REPORT THIS AD The thirty one’s ball retention can’t go understated either. He won the ball back eight times during the encounter, yet again proving how he’s an expert on the ground and in the ruck, nine times out of ten emerging with the ball in his paw or the paw of his teammate, whoever that may be. He may be good on the ground but he may just be even better in the air! Throughout the Sars match he did not lose one aerial dual while also winning two puck outs clean, and once Bill has the ball in his position, there’s not many better or efficient then him in the country. Finally, on the defensive side of things, he made four clearances and made six ball winning tackles throughout the encounter. Them numbers were unmatched by any player outside the full back lines of either side! As I stated earlier, Cooper acted as a ball carrier between from attack to defense which can often go unnoticed and the lack of attention to his offensive work in the first half proved so. Despite, a lackluster first half points wise for the defending champions, Cooper was superb gaining eleven positions providing a number of great passes however nothing came from them. The lack of scores on the end of these great chances provided by Bill saw a very overlooked first half performance. Perhaps, if a few more of these chances were taken, more of a light would have been shed on a top performance. The partnership he has struck up in the last two seasons with Fr O’Neills man Mark O’Keeffe is something to really be admired as well.  More often then not Bill’s exploits are under appreciated not only in the county but the inter county scene also. His career stats are quiet remarkable for a midfielder, firstly with Cork in fifty nine appearances he has a stunning 3-51! For CIT(2013) and Imokilly (10-12, (18-19) he has 2-19 in just fifteen games while for his club Youghal he has smashed home 9-70 in forty eight games in Premier Intermediate and Senior. Without a shadow of a doubt, Bill Cooper will retire as an all-time great, an underrated one at that!