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'Guys don't do this on purpose' - Farrell backs POM to rebound with Ireland

The Munster captain was sent off in the 14th minute in Cardiff.

O'Mahony was sent off in the 14th minute.
O'Mahony was sent off in the 14th minute.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell has backed Peter O’Mahony to rebound at Test level after the Munster captain’s first-half red card proved costly in a 21-16 Six Nations defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

Ireland initially managed their numerical disadvantage well and led 13-6 at half time but the Welsh nudged in front with two second-half tries.

O’Mahony was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes in the 14th minute after a TMO review showed clear and direct contact from the flanker’s arm to the head of Wales prop Tomas Francis at the breakdown.

Ireland boss Farrell opted against criticising O’Mahony’s lack of discipline after Ireland came up short, securing a losing bonus point in the process.

“He’s gutted as well,” said Farrell of O’Mahony. “Guys don’t do this on purpose, to get sent off and hamper the performance of the team. They care about the team and their team-mates deeply so obviously Pete is hurting at this moment in time.

“He has done a lot of good things for us in the past and I’m sure he’ll do the same for us in the future.”

Farrell was frustrated at other decisions not going Ireland’s way in the game.

Johnny Williams’ head-on-head tackle on Garry Ringrose drew no sanction in the first half, even though the Wales centre was forced off injured as a result, while Nick Tompkins’ deliberate knock-on late in the game was only penalised.

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“I don’t know whether they’ll be reviewed or not, I don’t know whether they agree or not but in the cold light of day, from what I saw, there was one or two there,” said Farrell.

“We get told that head-on-head is a sanction, so I don’t know what the mitigating factors were or what was said on the field but there’s that and a few more things we’ll need to go through and assess.

“But having said that, we were still in control of our own destiny. We gave a couple of crucial penalties away that got them back in the game, one exit scrum where we knocked the ball on and that gave them the [George North] try.

“A valiant effort, I thought we played some really good stuff at times and asked a lot of questions, but at the same time, we were in the fight up until the death to win the game and if a few more things had been a bit tighter that were in our control, we could have won the game.”

Ireland lost lock James Ryan to a head injury in the first half, while captain Johnny Sexton was forced off for the same reason late on.

It remains unclear whether or not they will recover in time to play against France in Dublin next weekend.

“They seem fine within themselves but like all these things, they’ll get assessed properly and we’ll see how they are tomorrow,” said Farrell.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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