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Jonathan Bradley of Belfast Telegraph (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Questions over John Cooney's selection for PRO14 final prove just why Ulster have reached the showpiece decider

Jonathan Bradley


 

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John Cooney’s substitution in the weekend’s defeat of Edinburgh provided an example of Ulster’s new-found strength in depth

John Cooney’s substitution in the weekend’s defeat of Edinburgh provided an example of Ulster’s new-found strength in depth

�INPHO/Billy Stickland

John Cooney’s substitution in the weekend’s defeat of Edinburgh provided an example of Ulster’s new-found strength in depth

The year 2020 has contained too many unlikely occurrences to count and yet they just keep coming.

The latest came yesterday when Ulster's Dan McFarland sat down to preview his side's Guinness PRO14 final with Leinster in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and found himself fielding a question that would have seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago - one regarding the battle to start for his side at scrum-half.

John Cooney, of course, has become the side's talisman since arriving in 2017, the attacking heartbeat of the team since he did the unthinkable and replaced Ruan Pienaar. More recently, his game has gone to a new level and, with a shared love of the mental side of the game, it has seemed coach has been good for player and player for coach since the moment Cooney kicked Ulster to victory in McFarland's first game in the hot-seat two years ago this week.