THE LIKES OF Jamie Heaslip, Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy will be keeping a close eye on Peter O’Mahony at the Aviva Stadium this weekend, if they are selected to start Leinster’s clash with Munster in the RaboDirect Pro12.
Having spent the last 10 weeks or so training and living with the Munster captain at Ireland’s training base in Carton House, the Leinster ruck specialists will have a total appreciation for what O’Mahony offers at the breakdown.
The 24-year-old’s major contributions to Ireland’s Six Nations triumph were in that specific area of the game as he stole opposition ball and added his bulk to securing attacking rucks too.
Leinster know what’s coming on Saturday evening, but O’Mahony insists that scenario is now different to any inter-provincial derby.
I think it’s the same every time we play each other. We probably know each other that little bit more than anyone else, so it won’t be any different to any other time, I don’t think.
“We know each other fairly well, we know each other’s style of rugby. I don’t think it’s going to be any different to the usual derby and the ferocity of the games we’re usually involved in.”
O’Mahony does admit that it will be somewhat strange to be looking to dominate players who were his team mates in success so recently.
Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
“It’s mad, yeah. You’re living in each other’s pockets and then all of a sudden, ten days or two weeks apart and you’re on the other side of the whitewash and you’re face-to-face in the heat of battle, as they say.”
The Cork native concedes that there was something of “a comedown” upon leaving the bubble of Ireland’s Six Nations camp, but stresses that he is “firmly in Munster mode now and getting stuck in.”
That championship success was O’Mahony’s “first big trophy and medal” as a professional player, and something he would dearly love to repeat as often as possible. However, he points out that his thirst for success with Munster has never been an issue.
It’s not just because I won one that I want more. I’ve always wanted to win with my province and my country. It does give you a bit of hunger though, it’s a great feeling. It’s a bit mad on the pitch, but when you get the time to sit down and think about it, it was an unbelievable day and a great few weeks.”
There hasn’t been too much time to dwell on making history in Paris for O’Mahony though, with the “great group of lads” at Munster helping him to reintegrate into the fold seamlessly.
O’Mahony is now intensely focused on setting another record straight, this time in Dublin.
“We haven’t beaten Leinster at home since 2008, which is disappointing. It’ll be a big occasion. I love playing in the Aviva, it’s a great stadium, and with a sell-out at the weekend, it’s going to be a savage atmosphere.”
Audio courtesy of the Big Red Bench on Cork’s Red FM.