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O'Mahony proud as Munster make statement against 'oppressive' and impressive Exeter

‘Their ability to hold the ball is very impressive and as a result of that I have to say we’ll take a draw.’

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sean Farrell reports from Sandy Park

‘WE CAME HERE to win,” said Peter O’Mahony after Munster delivered an immensely physical performance to force a draw away to Exeter Chiefs.

The 10-10 scoreline belies the level of intrigue that was delivered with every shuddering hit in this encounter; with a strong swirling wind bringing no end of complications for the tactics of both coaches and two teams, who have long eyed one another from afar, fiercely coming face to face.

O’Mahony is a born competitor, so he can only feel it bittersweet that Munster fans were not celebrating a full four points in Devon today, but the celebrations are fully in order.

Peter O'Mahony Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The southern province went on their travels with most outsiders agreeing a losing bonus point may as well count as a win. Yet for the first time this season, the Chiefs were denied victory. For the first time this season, Rob Baxter’s side didn’t find dominance through the maul. For the first time this season, the Chiefs were unable to score at least three tries.

Two would have been enough to inflict a crushing late loss on Munster. But for 22 long, phases after 80 minutes had elapsed the red wall stood firm.

“It speaks volumes,” said O’Mahony, his voice low, but intensity still high soon after full-time.

“That’s their game, the pressure they put on you. We knew that discipline was a big factor and, apart from me, we were very good discipline-wise.

Peter O'Mahony after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“22 phases, under your sticks, to have the discipline there to hold them out when that’s what they do, you know? You watch them week in, week out in the Premiership and when they get within sight of the line they are so clinical, so oppressive.

“It speaks volumes for the lads’ character (to keep them out).”

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The Corkman, typically hard on himself and picking out personal errors, quickly comes around to the sense of achievement at gaining two points.

The draw in Castres which kick-started Munster’s European campaign last season was tough going, but not a patch on this incredibly punishing encounter.

“You take the factors in: they’re one of the best teams in England, if not Europe, their home record speaks for itself – how difficult it is to come here and get a win, even how difficult it is to come here and get a performance…

The blindside adds: “you’re up against an incredible side and it’s so hard out there. You feel you’re building and building, you’re looking for three points a lot of the time because it’s so hard to play with the ball. I thought overall it was a very good performance.”

“They’re a hugely oppressive side, their ability to hold the ball is very impressive and as a result of that I have to say we’ll take a draw.

“I was very proud of the lads, it was a difficult game. The conditions were difficult. (It was) difficult to play the game and I thought the lads were very good.”

Munster are up in running in Europe once more. They will assess the injuries for Keith Earls (hamstring), John Ryan (ankle) and Sam Arnold (taken to hospital with a knock on his throat) and prepare to give Gloucester a warm welcome in Thomond Park.

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Sean Farrell

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