Rogan Thompson/INPHO

Cooney kicks Ulster to away win over Cardiff

Mike Lowry claimed Ulster’s crucial try in Rodney Parade.

Cardiff Blues 7

Ulster 11

ULSTER RECORDED THEIR fourth straight win of the Guinness Pro14 season but they had to do it the hard way against Cardiff Blues in Newport.

This was a gritty, largely forgettable encounter but it was also ferocious and competitive from first to last. In the end, Michael Lowry’s try was the crucial moment for the Irish raiders.

John Cooney added two penalties as Ulster’s fine start in Conference A continued.
Ulster’s opponents lost key centre Willis Halaholo to a failed pre-match fitness test and after a scrappy first 15 minutes, Cooney opened the scoring with three points that took him past 500 points in the competition.

The Blues still looked dangerous in attack and they hit back with a fine try after Jarrod Evans chipped ahead and Rey Lee-Lo collected to score. Evans converted.

To make matters worse for Ulster they also lost wing Louis Ludik who was injured in the build-up to what was in fairness a cracking home try. Ethan McIlroy came on and was
immediately involved as Ulster turned down shots at goal for scrums and a shot at a try.

The series of penalties and repeated scrums seemed never ending with replacement Blues flanker Olly Robinson finally binned for his team’s infringements.

michael-lowry Rogan Thompson / INPHO Lowry chases a chip through. Rogan Thompson / INPHO / INPHO

Finally, Ulster broke through. Ironically, the try came from one of their worst scrums as the ball went backwards but fullback Lowry picked up and worked wonders to score.
Cooney failed to convert with the last kick of the half.

The Blues conceded 11 first-half penalties to one from Ulster and Evans missed the chance to put the Blues back into the lead as Robinson returned.

Strong Ulster defence also repelled a home attack on the Irish line and Dan McFarland made four forward changes in one go in search of some impetus.

There was also a long delay due to a serious injury to Lee-Lo who left the field on a stretcher.

Cooney’s penalty pushed the Ulster lead to four as the brutal battle continued.

Ulster had to withstand plenty of pressure late on, but what would have pleased McFarland no end was his team’s resolve and forward power.

It was enough to repel the Blues as the away forwards celebrated a late penalty win with a guttural roar.

Cardiff Blues: Morgan; Summerhill (Lane 63), Lee-Lo (Smith), Smith (Tovey 57), Amos; Evans, Jones (Hill 73); Domachowski (Thyer 57) (Domachowski 74), Dacey (capt) (Lewis 75), Arhip (Andrews 57), Ratti (Murphy 57), Thornton, Turnbull, Botham (Robinson 29), Boyde.

Ulster: Lowry; Gilroy, S Moore (Marshall 53), McCloskey, Ludik (McIlroy 23); Burns (capt) (Mathewson 73), Cooney; O’Sullivan (McGrath 48), McBurney (Andrew 48), M Moore (Kane 69), O’Connor (Carter 57), Treadwell, Rea, Murphy, Timoney (Reidy 48)


Cardiff Blues

Try: Lee-Lo 22
Con Jones 23


Try: Lowry 40+1
Pens: Cooney 17, 64

Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

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