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O'Mahony hopes Munster can use semi-final heartache to launch Pro14 title bid

The Munster captain was crowned the club’s player of the year this week.

O'Mahony said Munster had their best training session of the year on Tuesday.
O'Mahony said Munster had their best training session of the year on Tuesday.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

PETER O’MAHONY SAYS Munster returned this week after the Saracens loss and produced one of their best training sessions of the year in a bid to finish the campaign on a high.

The Munster captain said they are not dwelling on their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final loss and returned to their training base in Limerick and the hit ground running again.

O’Mahony was crowned Munster’s Player of the Year on Tuesday night and while he admitted that it was difficult to stomach a seventh European semi-final loss since Munster won it in 2008, they are determined to have a right crack at winning the Pro14.

“It was a rough day, a rough few days for everyone for lots of reasons but we came back and had a great training session, one of the best of the year actually,” he said.

“It was a super session. It was a testament to the lads, to be honest, to rock up after last weekend and put the head down and know we have a huge game this weekend.

“We’ve an opportunity this weekend to go and bring Connacht home. We need to win to give ourselves any chance of missing that quarter-final but we’ve guaranteed ourselves a quarter-final and at this time of the year, after this weekend, there’ll be lots of teams who won’t have any rugby left.

“There were lots of European teams last weekend who didn’t have a game and at times, you know, we’re sick and tired of losing semi-finals but it takes a lot of effort to get that far in the competition with the quality that we’re up against.

“You see who’s in the final, I don’t think anyone would argue they’re the two best teams in Europe and we’re going to come up against some excellent sides in the PRO14,” said O’Mahony, who has chalked up 123 appearances for his native province.

Peter O'Mahony receives the Player of the Year award O'Mahony had Tuesday night's awards. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

He knows they have a chance of picking up their first silverware since 2011 in the Pro14 but that the focus will then switch quickly to the World Cup in Japan at the outset of the new season.

“There are some huge games for us coming up, which is paramount to us. It is certainly not that far away, a short off-season and then get into it.

“We know from experience things like Six Nations and November Series pass you by in the blink of an eye. It won’t be any different for the pre-season and then into Japan.

“I’d be lying if I was saying we’re not an ambitious group and we want to go a long way in this competition. There have been teams before have gone down there with the pressure we’ll have and haven’t delivered. That pressure will be there again but it’s something we love. We’re an ambitious group and we want to do as well as we can for Ireland and that will be a big target for us,” he added.

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Declan Rooney

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