Football

"I like the cutting edge" | Jonny Cooper on defending and learning from Owen Farrell

Joseph Conroy
Joseph Conroy

08:07 12 Feb 2020

When it comes to defending in GAA, few relish the job more than Dublin's Jonny Cooper.

Cooper joined Off The Ball this evening to discuss his 'the cutting edge' he feels when defending.

The Dubs defender is also fascinating in how he has drawn influence from spending time with England rugby captain Owen Farrell and many more sportsmen besides.

The cutting edge

"I love the cutting edge. I love the cliff edge where sometimes I have fallen off for whatever reason, and sometimes I have remained there and showed mental resolve.

"I've done enough research, I have enough capability to make a decision.

"I love that there is no safety net. OK, there's a goalkeeper behind you!

"That is what I love about it. I love the research; sometimes I'm too detailed and too obsessive, but I love the whole area.

"I think that applies well beyond sport, it applies to relationships and I'm very ambitious professionally as well, so I try and apply some of those aspects to that."

In a bid to further increase his professional capability, Cooper spoke about meeting one of the best sportsmen in the world in Owen Farrell.

"At Saracens, I spent a couple of hours with Owen Farrell just having a cup of tea," said Cooper.

"You are trying to understand. Obviously, his dad is involved with our national team and his Owen's younger brother plays for Clanna Gael in Ringsend.

"You are trying to make these little connections and going from there; trying to see how they see things.

"I have a lot of time for someone like Owen. You can see his behaviour and how he carries himself. He is a young enough England captain."

Cooper and Farrell

Expressing his gratitude to people like Farrell, as well as the likes of Mark McCall, Cooper went into detail of what spending time with the England rugby captain was like.

"I would like to think he had no idea who I was! He was talking about his brother being at Clanna Gael and that he was enjoying it.

"I guess on a basic level, just being able to connect with him - but you don't want it to be just a one-way relationship.

"I know Clanna Gael, I know the area. It's a great club with lots of structure, and he is trying to connect that to his own brother.

"You are trying to be respectful but you are also trying to extract what you can from one of the best people in his craft in the world.

"It is hard to fathom how you get it, but when you are two feet away from him and seeing what you would usually see on TV [...] you are trying to be in the moment and responsive."

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