BATTERED, BRUISED AND gasping for breath, Peter O’Mahony hailed a big performance ‘from a special group of guys’ as Ireland stood up and delivered against England this evening.
After disappointing defeats to Scotland and Wales, it was more like it from Joe Schmidt’s men as they edged a brutally physical encounter to deny England a Grand Slam and record 19th consecutive win.
Ireland brought a level of intensity we hadn’t seen in the championship to date and O’Mahony was central to it as he dominated at the line-out and made 13 tackles during a tireless display.
Speaking to RTÉ at full time, the Munster captain — who was only called in to start at the last minute when Jamie Heaslip went over on his ankle in the warm up — said the players were fired up after the heartbreak of last week in Cardiff.
“It came from a special group of guys, we were disappointed with the way some of the results have gone but we knew deep down there’s a lot of heart there,” he said.
“Fellas showing up for each other and fellas showing up for what is special to them, not just on the pitch but off it as well. It was a great performance.
“It [Cardiff] broke our hearts really. The support we have every time we come here and abroad is amazing and we let a lot of people down so thank you for today.
“It was a massive one for is, we needed to show everyone how much it meant to us and I think we did today.”
Captain Rory Best praised his team’s performance, admitting that the home side owed that result to themselves and the supporters inside the Aviva Stadium.
“We knew England are a massive side and we knew we’d have to produce a really big performance and there’s no doubt the boys fronted up,” he added.
“The crowd here as always was fantastic and just every time England got a bit of momentum, the crowd just lifted and it was a big lift for us to help stop that.
“We talked all week that it wasn’t about stopping them [England]doing anything, it was about us producing a performance worthy of this team, worthy of this crowd and worthy of the occasion it was and we’re very happy with that.
“We’ll look back on this campaign and aspects we weren’t happy with but that was a bit more like it. We didn’t let anyone down today.”
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