Monday 16 September 2019

'I was struggling with how I was feeling' - John Cooney reveals how seeing a counsellor helped his rugby career

John Cooney of Ulster
John Cooney of Ulster Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ulster scrum-half John Cooney has revealed that he saw a counsellor during his time in Connacht after suffering a number of injury set-backs.

After starting his career at Leinster, Cooney moved to Connacht in 2014 in a bid to get regular game time. However, a number of frustrating injuries and the presence of Ireland international Kieran Marmion meant that his opportunities were limited.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland, the 28-year-old - who has been a star performer since moving to Ulster at the start of last season - admitted that he sought help during his time in Galway after going through a tough period.

"When I was in Connacht struggling with injury - a lot of people wouldn't say it - but I started seeing a counsellor," Cooney said.

"Through Rugby Players Ireland, they were able to set one up for me in Galway. I did seven or eight sessions with someone there and originally it was just to make me feel better day-to-day because I was struggling with how I was feeling over injuries. Everything day-to-day, I was struggling a bit.

"It made a big difference."

Cooney, who travelled to Australia with the Ireland squad last summer, also paid tribute to his friends and family for helping him when he was at a low point during his career.

"It's interesting to remember the people who worked hard for you, I just thought about my family and my friends and people that sacrificed a lot for me," Cooney added.

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"In those hard times, they were basically the people that got me through it. Now I'm getting to where I want to be and I'm grateful to them for everything they did."

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