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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018

'What is going on is a business situation': O'Mahony remains focused on rugby

The Munster captain is pushing talk about his future to one side ahead of Saturday’s clash with Leicester Tigers.

O'Mahony during yesterday's press conference in Limerick.
O'Mahony during yesterday's press conference in Limerick.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

MUNSTER CAPTAIN PETER O’Mahony has confirmed that he could be following Simon Zebo out of the province by the end of the year.

But Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray said he does not believe that Munster are about to lose a string of big names.

O’Mahony refused to commit his future to the province when pushed on the issue at a press conference at Munster’s high performance centre in UL yesterday.

It’s a massive week for Munster as they host Premiership giants Leicester Tigers on Saturday, in the first of the back-to-back Champions Cup fixtures.

Cork native O’Mahony has played 96 times for his home province, and has 42 caps for Ireland, as well as captaining the Lions for their first Test with the All Blacks during the summer.

But with Zebo set for a lucrative deal in France next season, O’Mahony could well follow him out of Thomond Park.

“It is European Cup week with Munster, so it’s very easy to focus the mind. What is going on is a business situation, it’s business deals. It’s separate,” said the 28-year-old.

“Your emotion is with the club and getting it right for the weekend. The lads are dealing with it. It’s a different part of my life at the moment.

“You don’t pick up the phone. I might have to make a yes or no call but that is just it. There has to be a decision made at some stage. I would have liked to have had it done sooner than this to be honest, it’s just the way it has fallen.

“To be fair to David Nucifora he has got a lot of guys to do. It’s difficult to get the deal done early, but I would certainly prefer to get it done a bit earlier but that is the joy of it.

Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray The Munster captain shares a joke with Conor Murray during training. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I am hoping to get it done by January one way or the other. That is the business side of it done. It’s Leicester for me this week.”

But his Munster and Ireland team-mate Murray believes losing big names is not a worry for the province.

“It genuinely isn’t and I know it gets talked about in the media because there are rumours about people moving clubs, salaries, not coming to an agreement with the IRFU, that’s just the time of year it is and we are all used to that,” said Murray.

“I know Pete’s contract is up and CJ Stander is up, we obviously know what happened with Zeebs, hopefully they all get sorted, but as a distraction it’s not.

“From the supporters’ point of view, their heart jumps, because they probably don’t get to speak to Peter or CJ, or anyone who is up for contract.

“When we hear rumours in the paper we probably know, or we have had a chat to the lads about it and maybe our minds are a little bit more at ease than the supporters.”

And in Johann van Graan’s first European week in charge of Munster he faces an injury crisis at loosehead prop.

Liam O’Connor is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and he has not ruled out potentially signing a short-term replacement to add more depth with only Dave Kilcoyne for cover.

“Dave is the number one starting prop,” the head coach said. “He is the international starting prop at this stage coming back into the team. He might get a few more minutes than usual.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate at this stage (about any short-term replacements). There is structures in place to get possible additions to the squad. We are in constant communication with the IRFU.

“If the need really arises we will have a look at that. But we are just taking it day by day. Wait for the news first and we will take it from there.”

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Daragh Small

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