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Cooney heaps pressure on Murray

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PRO 14    

Pressure on Conor Murray to retain his position reaches its peak as Cooney-mania takes over

Ulster’s in-form halfback John Cooney continued his sensational season despite his side going down to Clermont 29-13 away in France.

The prolific try-scoring 9 bagged his ninth try of the season across the Pro14 and Champions Cup, getting Ulster off to a hot start when his opening try took the visitors out to a 10-3 lead.

It continues an emphatic purple patch of form for the 29-year-old just as incumbent Conor Murray struggles to re-gain the form that saw him considered the premier halfback in the world before his neck injury.

Murray hasn’t been poor but Cooney’s exploits have been irresistible leading to calls for the upstart halfback to made Ireland’s halfback during the Six Nations. Many Irish fans believe Cooney isn’t just the best 9 in Ireland, but the whole of Europe.

The fans aren’t the only ones to throw support behind Ulster’s halfback. Discussing Ireland’s squad on Off the Ball, Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll said it would be a ‘brave’ decision to leave out Cooney.

“Obviously the most talked about position is probably scrum-half. In some ways, it would be a brave call not to pick John Cooney because he’s been a stand-out performer in Europe,” he said.

O’Driscoll said Andy Farrell has to see past the tried-and-true Murray to select the form player which is Cooney.

“He knows the tried and tested through Lions tours and through huge success with Ireland what Conor Murray can deliver.

“But in reality, John Cooney is the form player that warrants selection.”

Joey Carbery to miss the entire Six Nations:

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Pressure on Conor Murray to retain his position reaches its peak as Cooney-mania takes over