Sunday 4 December 2016

Cooney eager to put Pro12 final heartache behind him

Declan Rooney

Published 29/11/2016 | 02:30

Connacht's John Cooney. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Connacht's John Cooney. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Connacht scrum-half John Cooney is determined to put the heartbreak of dislocating his shoulder in May's Pro12 final behind him, and already he is back with a bang.

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Cooney (26) was a replacement in that Grand Final win over his native Leinster, but his first game against his former team only lasted four minutes as he sustained a shoulder injury that would rule him out for six months.

The No 9 returned for Connacht last weekend and played a key role in their victory over Cardiff, scoring a try and also kicking three from three off the tee, having been handed the kicking duties at the 11th hour due to Craig Ronaldson's injury.

And while it is quite a distance removed from the season decider in Murrayfield, Cooney is desperate to start again this Saturday as Connacht host Treviso at the Sportsground.

Delighted

"It's been a long six months since the final, but I'm delighted to get back, especially getting the win," said Cooney.

"It could have gone better, I still made a few mistakes and I am quite annoyed with that.

"I'd love to start this game ahead of the two Wasps games, any game-time I can get would be great. I'd play for Terenure if I could."

Cooney had only just replaced Kieran Marmion when he felt his shoulder pop in the Murrayfield decider. But such was the pressure of the moment he battled on in the defensive line for another two minutes, in agony.

A winner's medal softened the blow, but the reality of such a long time on the sidelines soon hit in.

"It was bittersweet. Also playing Leinster in the final, it was my first game to play against them and I was licking my lips. Then two minutes in, I had a dislocated shoulder. These things happen and I'm a stronger man now.

"There was about 13 minutes left and after that Matt Healy went in to scrum-half. I think I played two minutes or so with it out, I don't know why, the adrenaline got me through it.

"But it's a good time to be back. Hopefully we can get the four or five points against Treviso and then move on to Wasps."

Irish Independent

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