Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
James Crombie/INPHO O'Mahony wins a lineout for Munster.
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The 32-year-old says it has been about keeping things as “cool and chilled as possible.”

HE HAS BEEN in the role full-time since 2013 but Peter O’Mahony hasn’t experienced many fortnights like this one in Munster.

He has been surrounded by young fellas who only left school a few months ago, many of them not even in the Munster academy yet.

O’Mahony, a notoriously demanding trainer, has had to bite his tongue more than ever when mistakes have understandably been made.

He has had to put an arm around shoulders at times and deliver information and game plan detail that would generally be taken for granted. Like the other senior players left in Munster over the past two weeks, O’Mahony has had to act like a coach more than ever.

O’Mahony himself says he has been working to ensure things are as “cool and chilled as possible.”

And while there will be a calm and collected approach to Sunday, O’Mahony and his fellow leaders will not be viewing this game as a free shot despite all the disruption. They have trophy ambitions and with nine international players available against a Wasps team that is not in good form and is also missing a host of key players due to injury, there will be internal expectation of a win on Sunday.

With only four pool games in the Champions Cup this season, there isn’t much room for setbacks and Munster could give themselves a real boost in terms of advancing into the home-and-away round of 16 by winning on the road in Coventry this weekend.

For O’Mahony, this is the start of another European campaign in which he will be hoping to help Munster to trophy glory.

As is so well-cited, the province haven’t won a senior trophy since their Magners League title back in 2011. O’Mahony is part of a group of senior players who are desperate for their Munster careers not to end without bringing the trophy-less streak to an end.

peter-omahony Ryan Byrne / INPHO O'Mahony at Munster training. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

They all have high hopes of being involved when the Champions Cup final rolls around on Saturday 28 May, 2022 in Marseille.

For now, though, that’s a long way off and a long way into the back of their minds.

The immediate focus has been on ensuring that Munster are as well prepared to beat Wasps as possible this Sunday.

With the senior coaching staff all in isolation, Munster’s preparations in Limerick have been led by academy manager Ian Costello, who joined last summer from Wasps, handily enough.

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“He’s been great,” said O’Mahony earlier this week. “We certainly have to focus on ourselves given the circumstances, it was difficult certainly last week to look anywhere beyond us and getting us up to speed.

“Naturally, he has some great insights into the individuals involved but we haven’t really got to it, to be honest. It’s just been a bit crazy – just getting as ready as possible has been key. We will absolutely have a huge amount of analysis done but we haven’t quite got there at the minute.” 

And while O’Mahony has been busy helping the young guns, he has had to ready himself to lead by example in Coventry.

“At the end of the day I’ve got myself to worry about, and a performance to pull out of myself on Sunday, that’s important as well,” he said this week.

“The only way we can go and have an incredible memory for ourselves is by having the training and getting everyone to the same level and speed.

“It was much more about getting focused on what we can do training-wise and preparing, that’s the main thing.”

A very different week but in some ways, the message remains the same as ever.

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