John Cooney inspires Ulster to victory over Cardiff Blues

John Cooney inspires Ulster to victory over Cardiff Blues

Ulster 16 - 12 Cardiff Blues

John Cooney marked his return from international duty by kicking 11 points in Ulster's 16-12 Guinness PRO14 victory over Cardiff Blues at the Kingspan Stadium.

Though being outscored two tries to one by the Blues and trailing 12-10 at half-time, the Irish province ground this result out with returning Ireland stars Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale playing prominent roles after coming off the bench in the second half.

All the tries came in the opening half with the Blues - who have not won in Belfast since 2010 - getting both Matthew Morgan and Kris Dacey over the line with Ulster's sole touchdown coming from lock Kieran Treadwell.

The only scores in the second half came from two Cooney penalties.

The four points gives Ulster the ideal response to last weekend's defeat at the Scarlets, who they now meet in the back-to-back Champions Cup rounds.

The Blues - who lost lock Seb Davies to the bin at a critical point in the second half - take a losing bonus point from Belfast as they prepare for their two European clashes with Saracens.

After just two minutes, Ulster were ahead thanks to a Cooney penalty.

But the Blues, with former Ulster player Nick Williams prominent, came straight back into the game and took the lead after nine minutes with a well-worked try.

After a period of pressure Morgan made the left corner but Jarrod Evans missed the difficult conversion.

Their lead lasted four minutes as Ulster then managed to respond with a converted try when Stuart McCloskey took a tap penalty and made ground before supplying lock Treadwell.

The ball hit the second row's knee and he fell on the ball and rolled over the line to score a rather unusual-looking try which Cooney converted after the TMO had been consulted.

The Blues came back again and six minutes later the scores were level when hooker Dacey was on the back of an impressive maul launched after Cardiff had again won penalties inside Ulster's 22.

This time Evans converted and the Blues led 12-10, which is how the half ended with no further scores from either side.

The second half's most notable event prior to Davies' 54th-minute binning for an illegal hit on Ross Kane was a scrap involving McCloskey and Lloyd Williams which developed into a melee.

Ulster put their penalty into the corner and, after several pick and goes near the Blues line, Dillon Lewis was penalised for going off his feet and Cooney slotted the 56th-minute penalty to nudge

the home side back into the lead at 13-12.

The Blues, still with 14 men, then put Tomas Williams through a hole in the Ulster defence with only a last-gasp tackle from prop Eric O'Sullivan preventing the score.

Then, on 66 minutes, Ulster earned a penalty after pinching a lineout and Cooney landed it to put his side four points in front.

Then, with time nearly up, Best and Stockdale won vital turnover penalties as the Blues threw everything at rescuing the game.

More in this Section

Boxer Maxim Dadashev dies from injuries suffered during fightBoxer Maxim Dadashev dies from injuries suffered during fight

Tipp stun Cork with late goal to win Munster U20 finalTipp stun Cork with late goal to win Munster U20 final

Players must rise to task, says PerthPlayers must rise to task, says Perth

Cricket: Root wants England to lay down a markerCricket: Root wants England to lay down a marker


Lifestyle

Homemade ice pops are handy for many reasons, they refresh on a warm day, but also you know exactly what is in them; no strange colourings or preservatives.Michelle Darmody's home made ice pops

Sometimes travel can be more about the journey than the destination, as Caroline Hennessy and her family discovered when they took a 13-hour overnight journey from San Sebastián to Lisbon to check out the Trenhotel experienceTravelling by train in Europe - with kids

The Great Hack looks at the implications of the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, writes Laura Harding.When tech firms go bad: Netflix's new documentary on Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal

Often hailed as one of the greatest animated films ever made, The Lion King has a special place in the hearts of generations of children.New King of the jungle: The director behind The Lion King remake

More From The Irish Examiner