Guinness PRO14 Player Spotlight: John Cooney

Joe Leavey
13 September 2018

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For the second time in as many weeks, Ulster’s star scrum-half John Cooney was on hand to dramatically kick the winning points for his side as they came from behind to beat Edinburgh 30-29.

Cooney provided 20 of the Irish province’s points at the Kingspan Stadium including a try and three penalties – adding to his five from week one in the Guinness PRO14 against the Scarlets.

The Ulstermen had to do things the hard way however, as their Conference B rivals Edinburgh charged into an early 13-0 lead, before Cooney notched the two quickfire penalties in response.

Come the second-half, however, the home side found themselves 26-13 down, but for the Ireland international to kick-start what proved to be a remarkable comeback.

Ulster’s reigning player of the season collected a pass inside from Will Addison after fine work to break the line, going through to dot down before converting his own score.

Cooney – who recently committed his future to Ulster until 2022 – then turned provider as he fed Craig Gilroy with quick ball from just outside his own 22, with the winger showing jet-heeled pace to take the ball all the way to the whitewash.

His conversion gave Ulster the lead for the first time in the match, but there was still plenty of time for drama as he gave away a careless penalty, with Simon Hickey kicking Edinburgh back ahead with just a minute to go.

But, just as soon as he had turned villain, Cooney rescued his status as hero, making no mistake when Ulster won a penalty from the restart with the clock running red.

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