Owen Mulligan brands Jonny Cooper as Dublin's answer to Sergio Ramos
Owen Mulligan has branded Jonny Cooper as Dublin's answer to Sergio Ramos after their recent All-Ireland win, and it is hard to argue against.
Dublin won their sixth All-Ireland since 2011 on Sunday after defeating Tyrone on a scoreline of 2-17 to 1-14. Defender Jonny Cooper has been present for five of those six victories, and his value to this all-conquering Dublin side is unquestionable.
Since the win on Sunday a lot of plaudits have been thrown at Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny and Jack McCaffrey. However, for the Paddy Power brand ambassador, Dublin's key man throughout this winning run has been Jonny Cooper.
"The teams I played in on ‘03, ‘05 and ’08, we were blessed with nasty b***ards in the back line - the sort of defender that took it to the edge in every single game."
"I’m a massive fan of Johnny Cooper, the Sergio Ramos of Dublin. He dives as if he’s been shot by a sniper and he fouls cynically in all the right areas. He’s a Paddy Power odds on favourite for a yellow every day he goes out."
"He’s a match winner. Cooper controls Dublin’s back line, and if referees need to be challenged he’s the first man up, like butter would melt. Cute whorism comes to mind."
"Tyrone lack such a figure. You can’t teach this, you’re just born with it. The opposition hate him, but he’s a cult hero on Hill 16. Every team needs a Johnny Ramos!"
It is hard to argue with Mulligan's assessment. Cooper has been ever present on this Dublin team since entering a squad of All-Ireland champions in 2012. Real Madrid's Ramos has been a key cog in the Real Madrid juggernaut since his transfer from Sevilla in 2005. The Spaniard has captained the side to three Champions League on the spin now.
Cooper has appeared in five All-Ireland finals, and has played in a different position across the defence each time. He has played all six defensive positions for Dublin. Ramos has also occupied various positions for Real Madrid and Spain, from right or left back, to central defence, to the holding midfield role.
Ramos has also had a lot of disciplinary issues down through the years, and has picked up multiple yellos and red cards. It would be unfair to put Cooper in this bracket, but there is no doubt he plays close to edge and often enough picks up a yellow card in Croke Park.
There can be no doubting Cooper's value to this Dublin side. A rock-solid defender, with a commanding presence across Dublin's defence.
An unnerving individual, who is a real leader in this Dublin side, just like Ramos is to Real Madrid.
Every team needs a Jonny Cooper in their ranks.