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'Why wouldn't you take control?': John Cooney explains changed attitude to counselling and habits that helped him reach the top

 

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Man’s best friend: Ulster and Ireland’s John Cooney relaxes with his dog Bonnie yesterday

Man’s best friend: Ulster and Ireland’s John Cooney relaxes with his dog Bonnie yesterday

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Finish campaign: John Cooney yesterday

Finish campaign: John Cooney yesterday

John Cooney

John Cooney

�INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Man’s best friend: Ulster and Ireland’s John Cooney relaxes with his dog Bonnie yesterday

When Rugby Players Ireland first set John Cooney up with a counsellor during one particularly injury plagued stint at Connacht, there was no light-bulb moment for the soon-to-be Irish international scrum-half.

The change in his mental approach to the game's myriad ups and downs was to be a gradual process but there was one particular piece of advice that has stuck with him since. Train as if.

Then, it meant approaching his day-to-day as if already at the level he wanted to reach - that of a Test number nine.