Cooney hails Carty success as he prepares to face some old friends
When John Cooney and Jack Carty met up at the end of the regular season, the Ulster scrum-half had to foot the restaurant bill.
The duo are firm friends from their days at Connacht and decided to have a little wager on their kicking over the course of the campaign. Carty edged the battle.
The western province have completed a rare double over their neighbours to the north this season, but Ulster are hoping to win back the bragging rights when they meet in the PRO14 quarter-final tomorrow.
"We just had a bet on for the regular season. He just won it, he had more points and was better by one per cent in the goal-kicking. Fair play to him," the Ulster star said with a smile.
"We are in a WhatsApp group, we talk quite a lot and use ideas that we find pretty beneficial to each other, certain podcasts we would usually share with each other.
"When we were together playing half-back, we hung out a lot together and we always tried to pick each other's brains. It is definitely improved our games. I think for both of us it has helped our performances."
The pair spent time with each other in Ireland camp during the Six Nations and Cooney has been impressed with his pal's progress.
"It has been great," he said. "I have seen his development over the last five or six years, he has consistently improved.
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"I know he has gone to see sports psychologist a lot and he has worked with different ways of improving himself and especially his kicking. He has done a lot with (Ireland assistant) Richie Murphy, he has always been a player who could do everything but he just needed that confidence to back himself."