MUNSTER LEGEND DONNCHA O’Callaghan believes it is important that Munster retain the services of Peter O’Mahony but understands that other factors could lead to the team captain leaving the province.
It has been reported that O’Mahony has rejected an offer from the IRFU to extend his current contract while clubs in France and England are also said to be interested in recruiting him.
The 28-year-old revealed at a press conference today that he hopes to have a decision made about his future by early January, and is electing to focus on Munster’s Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers this weekend.
Two-time Heineken Cup winner O’Callaghan says that he would love to see O’Mahony remain at Munster, but accepts that the Cork native has other things to consider in deciding his future.
Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball, he said:
“Someone like Peter is desirable, you put him in your pack and straight away you have all the values he brings as well as his skill-set.
“I know he’ll be highly sought after but this is what goes on, everyone’s playing their part now – agents, players, the IRFU, even the media (and) the way it’s been dropped in.
“This is what happens now, this is nearly the dance of getting this deal over the line.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer, Peter O’Mahony playing for Munster at the moment is vital. I think he’s of a higher value to Munster than he is probably to Ireland, the way everything is going under Joe Schmidt.
“Especially for Cork rugby, it’s massive for Cork rugby with everything that’s gone on with the move to the one centre in (UL) Limerick and Thomond Park getting every European Cup game, I just think if you’re a young boy in Christians (Christian Brothers College) and Pres (Presentation Brothers College) there, you need to see your local heroes out on the big stage.
It’s important for me that Pete stays but I can see where money comes into it, and that he could be lured away and I know some of the clubs would pay any money to have quality like himself.”
Remarking on Munster’s clash against Leicester at the weekend, O’Callaghan recalled the 2007 meeting between the sides in Thomond Park.
Leicester’s 13-6 victory marked the end of province’s lengthy undefeated streak on home soil. It was also their last game there before the stadium was renovated.
O’Callaghan however, said that maintaining that record had become somewhat draining for them.
“The record was actually like a burden, I promise you. Bar losing that match, you were kind of glad it was gone because it nearly got to the point where you preferred playing away because every time it was on the line and it just became a massive monkey on your back every time you went out.”
When asked if it was discussion point before many games, he added:
“The whole time. Thomond (Park) was special and it was the last game in the old stadium which was completely different. It was a different type of atmosphere, it was way more terracy. I just remember small things about that game, I remember the whistle going and I just honestly couldn’t believe the whistle had gone and we hadn’t won.”
Listen to the full discussion here, which also features Shane Jennings.
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