Ieuan can turn his hand to most sports

Ieuan Cooke is a highly talented all-round young sportsman, and he appeared for Clarbeston Road AFC in this year's Senior Cup Final against Hakin United.
He is very much an all-round sportsman because as well as his football, which he started at Prendergast Villa, he was at one time a good golfer who played in the Young Masters' Golf competition at Celtic Manor and represented Wales and GB in triathlon before injury problems to his a knee eventually forced him to retire- but more of those sports later.

Ieuan Cooke playing for Clarbeston RoadSemi-final super-sub

When Ieuan grabbed the late winner for Clarbie against Merlins Bridge in the semi-final of this year's Senior Cup it was as the team's supersub because he had been called on for the last ten minutes and repaid player/coach Matthew Ellis's faith in him by knocking in the winner.
"It was a bit of a fluke," admitted Ieuan, "because as the ball was only partially cleared outside the box I hit my left-foot volley well, considering it is my weaker foot, but it was going towards their keeper until it took a big deflection and into the net.
"It was a great moment for the club and if anyone asks I can only tell them that I am definitely happy to claim it as my goal!"            

Early footballing start before triathlon took over . . .

Ieuan had started out in football as he represented Ysgol Glan Cleddau and Ysgol y Preseli, where he was coached by Gethin Vobe and Marc Lloyd in school competitions, as well as playing for Prendergast Villa and the Swansea Academy, which at that time trained in Tenby and he travelled with the likes of Tommy John and Rheinallt George.
But then Triathlon came into his life quite naturally because he had been a useful swimmer with Haverfordwest Seals up to National competition in the front crawl and back stroke and had also represented school, Dyfed (in Carmarthen) and wales (Brecon) in cross-country running.
"I competed in the Oakwood competition in years Seven, eight and Nine and was always in the top three, always fighting it out between against Laurie Haworth and Liam Bradley, as well as coming seventh in the qualification race for SIAB and being chosen for Wales B team against the other Home Countries.

 . . .  And success soon started

"I also enjoyed cycling where I made up for my lack of run speed with some raw power on the bike and from the time I was 12 I did quite well in some local competitions and made it into the Welsh triathlon squad.
"Then I went to Eton for the UK Qualifiers and did well to make it into the Great Britain Triathlon relay squad, albeit as first reserve in Holland.
"The first team in the relay race came third and the B team finished in fourth place and although I was naturally disappointed not to compete it was a great experience, nonetheless."
So when he went to Cardiff Met to study for his 2.2 Degree in Sports Science it seemed only natural to carry on but it wasn't easy to fit the strict training regime demanded by coach Andy Lane around his studies.

Incredible training demands

Ieuan Cooke cycling"For 4-5 days a week I had to be up at 5.30am ready for swimming at 6am and then was in the gym from 7.30am until 8.30am before grabbing some breakfast and then attending lectures.
"If I had a three-hour gap in lectures on some days I would go on my bike for the whole time and at the end of my college day we fitted in a run.
"It was the same routine every day and on the Saturday I cycled for four hours, whatever the weather, and tried to get another decent run in before resting my tired bones on Sunday by doing an hour and a half long run!"
It goes without saying that Ieuan felt super-fit and whilst he was at home did well in events at Neyland, Haverfordwest and other places - and as he grew in experience competed at top venues like London, Liverpool, Nottingham and Blenheim Palace.

And an inevitable cost

But then he took part in a televised event from Swansea and after coming third out of the swim and second off the bike he felt pain in his legs which got worse throughout the run.
"I knew something was up but managed to complete the course, although I knew my triathlon days were over. I would like to thank my coaches for their terrific help but even more so my family because they could not have been more supportive throughout all I did.
"My father David played rugby for Welsh Universities before becoming a doctor and enjoys cycling, whilst mum Camilla played lacrosse in school and enjoys triathlon now on a non-competitive basis, whilst sister Mared (19) has been a welsh gymnast and brother Huw (17) enjoyed rugby and represented Wales in triathlon.

A warm footballing welcome in Clarbie

Ieuan Cooke training at the beach"To be honest, competition had become really serious and I don't miss it because of my football in Clarbie, whom I joined because my old pal Rheinallt (George) was playing there - and I immediately felt welcomed by all the players, as well as club 'legends' like Huw Bevan, Steve Brown, June Harries and Mostyn Rowlands..
"It really is a club without egos where we all enjoy each other’s company under the guidance of Matthew Ellis, Jason Wood and Matthew Fox - and we stay together in victory or defeat.
Really looking to "I didn't really expect to make it into the first team set-up this season but I am enjoying it to the full, in training and in matches. We beat St Clears, Hundleton and Merlins Bridge to reach the final and we can't wait to play at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium on 21st April.

And finally . . .

"Hakin United are a very good side but we are determined to play our best but before that we have to make sure we stay in the top five in the league under skipper Jason Griffiths."
At the moment Ieuan works as a lifeguard at Haverfordwest Leisure Centre and has recently qualified as a swimming teacher, which he says is really satisfying as youngsters take their first strokes in swimming.
Ieuan Cooke really is a pleasant, modest and friendly young feller and at 21 years of age we can expect to hear a great deal more about him in the future, on and off the field!