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Dublin: 7°C Monday 12 April 2021

Cooney's brilliant debut season at Ulster earns him new three-year deal

The scrum-half has developed into a key player for the northern province.

JOHN COONEY’S CONSISTENTLY excellent form for Ulster has earned him a new three-year deal with the northern province, which will see him under contract at Kingspan Stadium until the summer of 2022.

The scrum-half enjoyed a brilliant debut season in Belfast last term and has developed into a key player for Ulster, further underlined by his match-winning contribution against Scarlets last weekend.

John Cooney Cooney has committed his long-term future to Ulster. Source: Matt Mackey/INPHO

Cooney was also part of Joe Schmidt’s squad for the summer tour of Australia — coming off the bench in the second Test in Melbourne — and has emerged as a strong contender to be Conor Murray’s deputy for next year’s World Cup. 

The 28-year-old, who was a graduate of the Leinster academy before spending two seasons with Connacht, scored 226 points for Ulster in 25 appearances last term and his performances earned him a place in the Pro14′s team of the season.

He also scooped the Ulster player of the year and supporters’ player of the year awards and continued where he left off in the season opener by kicking all 15 points in the narrow win over Scarlets. 

“I’ve had an unbelievable time since I moved up here and I’m delighted to commit my long-term future to the club,” he said.

“The players, staff and supporters have all welcomed me with open arms and shown me incredible support.

“The character that everyone within the organisation displayed last year, in challenging circumstances, was really impressive and I’m immensely proud to represent Ulster Rugby.

“Bryn and Dan are creating a very ambitious young squad and I’m excited about what we can achieve as a group over the next few years, through a combination of hard work and talent.”

Ulster’s operations director, Bryn Cunningham, added: “John has become a key player for us and it was crucial to get him signed up on a longer-term deal. 

“His energy and competitiveness, allied to his desire to continually improve, is helping us to drive standards day in, day out, and that is hugely important in terms of us striving for future success.

“We believe that John, like so many of our players, has his best years ahead of him.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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