Cooney gets Ulster across the line against Cardiff

Cardiff lost lock Seb Davies to the bin at a critical point in the second half

 Tempers flair between Ulster and Cardiff Blues players at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Tempers flair between Ulster and Cardiff Blues players at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Ulster 16 Cardiff Blues 12

John Cooney marked his return from international duty by kicking 11 points in Ulster’s 16-12 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 northern 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.

Scott Andrews of Cardiff Blues is tackled. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Scott Andrews of Cardiff Blues is tackled. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

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.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.