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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 25 October 2020

O'Mahony putting 'strange' reaction to Six Nations behind him and slots back into big-game mode

The Ireland vice-captain bristles at the criticism Ireland have been dealt, but is swiftly moving on to push Munster on in Edinburgh.

THE GAME IS too big, the point of the season too pivotal for Peter O’Mahony to let his mind linger on Ireland’s struggles during the Six Nations.

The Corkman is pretty well disposed to moving on from battle to battle anyway, but there’s nothing like a European quarter-final, away from home against a coming force in the Pro14, to draw the focus and sharpen the mind.

“I don’t find it particularly hard (to readjust),” he says with a shrug at Munster’s UL training base.

“It’s too big a week not just to slot back in or hang around and kind of act differently or be quiet, because it’s knockout in Europe.

“These are the games you want to be involved in and hopefully, whoever gets picked, it’s just a massive, massive week for the club.

“I’d be doing myself an injustice if I didn’t come back in and just be myself along with all the other guys who have been away the last few weeks. We’ve just got to get back in and carry on as if we’ve been here all the time.”

Besides, O’Mahony isn’t exactly accepting of the criticism levelled Ireland’s way over the past two months. For most in and around Carton House in that time, the view and stance is that fine margins were not shaded this time around, while last year they ticked every last box.

Peter O'Mahony dejected after the game Alone he Stands. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I’ve certainly learned to do it better, but I think there was a strange reaction to some of the stuff that’s been going on for the last few weeks, to be honest.

“But that’s part of it. I mean, we’ve won 22 of the 25 games or something. I just felt there was a bit of a strange reaction to it.

“But look, this is part of the game we’re in and I’ve certainly learned better over the last few years to say ‘right, that’s done now’. Because, as I said, it’s too big a week for me to be hanging around. Had a nice few days off, spent some time with the family and back in here to a great buzz. There’s a great buzz around here now, back into the lads.

“You can tell straight away when there’s Europe coming up. You come in the door of the place and there’s a great buzz always. It’s good to be back.”

It’s wholly understandable if O’Mahony’s view of the Six Nations is tinted slightly differently to those of us watching from a safe distance. He was Ireland’s best and most consistent performer and he worked solidly through all 400 minutes of the Championship. He also claimed a man of the match gong in Murrayfield, so after he and Keith Earls went visiting old team-mates in Paris on their time off, he is primed and in form to face Richard Cockerill’s side.

“It’s your best performance is going to have to be the one (delivered) at this time of the year. Just because teams are too good to not perform.”

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Peter O'Mahony O'Mahony speaks to the press in UL on Monday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“They have probably been the in-form team this season, with regards to some of the performances. They have one loss this year at home to Cardiff Blues, and it was only by a couple of points. They have made it very difficult to go and get a win over there.

“They have a very impressive set-piece both sides of the ball, scrum and line-out. We probably say it about every game but it is going to be particularly important this weekend. The battle of the line-out and the scrum. They are very impressive in both areas.

However prepared Munster will be as they travel, there could be a rude awakening in store, in a very real sense, with an unsociably early 12.45 kick-off..

“It is a little bit more challenging than whatever, 3pm or 4pm,” O’Mahony admits before flicking right back to get-on-with-it mode.

It’s like a training day really. We start (training) in here early, obviously, we just kind of emulate that all week. It’s not a big deal really. The S&C guys and nutritionists will have that side of it figured out. But we have been in more of these kick-offs than most people in this competition for whatever reason.

“We are half-used to it.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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