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O’Mahony: Munster must start turning 'bitterness' into trophies again

The back row says the southern province was left broken-hearted by the loss to Clermont which ended their season.

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

NEW MUNSTER CAPTAIN Peter O’Mahony is hopeful that the ‘bitterness’ of Heineken Cup semi-final defeat can be channeled into further progress in the southern province.

The two-time European champions fell at the second last hurdle last season when they traveled away to, competition favourites, Clermont.

Having been raised on a diet of near misses which eventually led to tangible success, O’Mahony is keen to set the bar no lower than silverware in his first season leading the side.

“That’s where we set our standard,” O’Mahony told TheScore.ie today. “We didn’t go into the Clermont game, saying, ‘great, we’ve made the semi-final.’

“We want to win. Win the final, win Heineken Cups and we want to win Rabos.”

Whereas most of his peers standing on the steps of Belfast’s Titanic Centre at today’s RaboDirect Pro12 launch tread cautiously in terms of setting goals, O’Mahony is bullish about the standard required at Thomond Park.

“We don’t make any bones about it: Munster want to win silverware every year. That’s our goal; to be winning silverware at the end of the season. We’re not going to beat around the bush about that.”

The international back row will have just turned 24 when he takes his tenure as captain onto the field. Despite his relative youth, O’Mahony is acutely aware of the burden of history at Munster. That’s why he was given the job.

“It comes with the tradition of the club a small bit. You don’t accept second best,”O’Mahony adds.

“That semi-final [away to Clermont] broke our hearts, hurt us a lot. But they’re the type of things that the young lads went through in 2001, 2002. Losing those finals stood to them when it came to 2008. It gives you a bit of bitterness, a bit of drive to do better every year.

“They were huge experiences for us last year, throughout the season guys would have picked up a huge amount of experience. The late stage of the Heineken Cup, that’ll stand to us in a year or two.”

The sooner the better, as far as the new skipper is concerned.

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Sean Farrell

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