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Painful defeats parked as O'Mahony gears up for make or break week

The Munster captain underwent some ‘fine-tuning’ today before Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash with Perpignan.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IT’S AN UNFORTUNATE fact of playing rugby at the top level, but Peter O’Mahony is quickly learning that defeats stick in the memory much longer than a win.

For the Munster captain, two defeats cloud the landscape of his season so far. Obviously, that devastating defeat to New Zealand 10 days ago, but also the opening round Heineken Cup defeat in Murrayfield.

“I think it’s more the media bringing it up than anything,” O’Mahony said as he stood outside a Limerick hotel this afternoon.

The word of Rob Penney in the aftermath of the loss to Edinburgh rang out for some time, but in the privacy of the team room, O’Mahony says that was the issue aired. Next step: putting things right one 80 minutes at a time.

“We’ve put it to bed. But we know since that game happened we have to play cup rugby. It is cup rugby for us from now on in. Lose and we’re out, so that puts it in black and white for us.”

Speaking of black and white, O’Mahony won’t quite admit to being sick of discussing a heroic defeat to the best team in the world, but says the memory of that day remains a double-edged sword to be treated carefully.

“It was probably one of the hardest pills to take so far in my career, but it has to be put to bed. We get on with it,” says the 24-year-old, growing in confidence with each passing week as the face of the southern province.

“We have to take some positives out of it as well. It’s not all doom and gloom even though it was a fairly sickening loss. There was a good performance put in from a very good Irish team, so it has to give everyone involved good confidence.”

Focused confidence is the attitude this Munster team carry into Sunday’s visit of Perpignan to Thomond Park. The Top 14 side have their own injury worries, but O’Mahony is relieved that the knock which kept him from facing the Dragons last weekend had healed left him with only a ‘a bit of fine-tuning’ on his calf at the University of Limerick today.

“They’re a tough side to play against. Any of the games you look back at over the last couple of weeks, they’ve really got stuck in and made things real tough for teams.

Get stuck in

“They’ve some electric players out the back who can do some very special things, so we’re going to have to be on our toes big time on Sunday.”

O’Mahony has been involved in enough disappointing displays already this season. This weekend, he’ll be reminding his team-mates that anything less than full tilt simply won’t do.

“It’s huge for us, the weekend. It’s make or break game for our season so we’ve got to get ourselves well up for Sunday and make sure we get stuck into the guys coming over.”

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Sean Farrell

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