Ulster make it back-to-back wins as Cooney kicks them to victory over Cardiff Blues
Ulster moved joint top of Conference A in the Guinness PRO14 with a 23-14 victory over the Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium.
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Scrum-half John Cooney kicked 13 points from the boot as Dan McFarland's side made it three wins from their opening four games in the new season.
Ulster suffered an early blow when centre James Hume was forced off with an injury, but they struck the first blow on the scoreboard when Sean Reidy charged down a Jarrod Evans kick and sent Luke Marshall over for a fourth minute try.
That was followed by Cooney kicking his first penalty of the night, and then they grabbed their second in the 17th minute when Billy Burns dummied and surged over the line from close range.
Luke Marshall saw yellow at the end of the half as the Blues piled on the pressure, but the visitors couldn't get on the scoreboard before in the interval.
However, they did strike just three minutes into the second half, Rory Thornton driving into the Ulster 22 and winger Aled Summerhill picking and going over the line.
Cooney responded with a penalty almost immediately from the restart, but it was he who was the unfortunate party when the visitors pulled it back to a one-score game again.
The kick in behind looked to have been covered by the scrum-half, only he mishandled the loose ball and it was gathered by Jason Harries, which allowed the ball to be spun wide for Will Boyde to cross.
That made it a one-score game, but Cooney made the result sure for the hosts as he dinked over a third penalty after some excellent work saw Ulster pin their opponents back in their own 22.
Evans had a chance to rescue a point for the visitors with a penalty with the last kick of the game, but he pushed it wide from in front of the posts.
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