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Shanahan hopes to step out of Cooney's shadow

Reserve scrum-half finally gets his shot after patiently waiting for his chance all season.

Dave Shanahan gets his chance tonight.
Dave Shanahan gets his chance tonight.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR Dave Shanahan. When the Cooney is away, the back-up can play. But so far this season, Shanahan has played just 12 times, twice from the start, the remainder as a replacement.

Tonight’s his shot. Saturday night, under the Swansea lights (kick off 5.15pm), John Cooney on international duty, the chance for Shanahan to show what he can do.

“It has been a while since I have started, so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“The scrumhalf group in general – we all try to help each other out when we can, obviously we are all competing against each other but that is a pretty important thing in our squad, we all try to push each other and I like to think that is why John had kicked his game on so well this year because we have pushed him hard and stuff.

We do pick stuff up from each other but at the same time, and I have said it before, the way you do get better is by playing, so I am looking forward to hopefully getting a bit of game time over this period.

“You can get into a flow of things; you can see John has had an incredible flow this year, he just keeps on from game to game pulling these miracles out of his pockets sometimes and it is great to see, so it is important to get a bit of game time too.

“Every rugby player wants to play more, even the guys who start every game – they do not want to get put onto the bench, obviously at some point you want to play more, but I do not like to think it is any reflection of myself. I think I am a better player than I was last year even if I played more last year.”

Ulster, meanwhile, have also played better this year than last. Europe has been good for them, a Champions Cup quarter-final something to look forward to.

But in Pro14 terms, they’re in a good spot, clear of Cheetahs and Glasgow, capable of securing a home quarter-final. The only thing Ospreys, meanwhile, can win is respect.

“They have not had the season they would have liked,” Shanahan said. “They have had a few things off the field and stuff, obviously they have not had the wins they would like as well.

“They have had a certain amount of time off as well, and if it was us in that situation, we would be spending that time really getting geared to this game.

“Physically they are going to be primed and ready to go, and I have no doubt their coach has them mentally prepared as well.”

Ulster v Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, kick-off 5.15pm (Live on eir Sport 1):

15: Matt Faddes

14: Robert Baloucoune

13: Luke Marshall

12: Stuart McCloskey

11: Louis Ludik

10: Billy Burns

9: David Shanahan

1: Eric O’Sullivan

2: Adam McBurney

3: Marty Moore

4: Alan O’Connor (Capt.)

5: Kieran Treadwell

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6: Matthew Rea

7: Sean Reidy

8: Marcell Coetzee.


16: John Andrew

17: Jack McGrath

18: Tom O’Toole

19: David O’Connor

20: Jordi Murphy

21: Jonny Stewart

22: Bill Johnston

23: Craig Gilroy.

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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