Monday 25 September 2017

'We're losing a good man on and off the pitch' - O'Mahony pays tribute to departing Ryan ahead of PRO12 final

1 October 2016; Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony of Munster during the Guinness PRO12 Round 5 match between Munster and Zebre at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
1 October 2016; Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony of Munster during the Guinness PRO12 Round 5 match between Munster and Zebre at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony has paid tribute to departing second-row Donnacha Ryan ahead of his final game for the province.

The Ireland lock will leave for Racing 92 after tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 final at the Aviva Stadium and while it promises to be an emotional occasion, O’Mahony cautioned against getting too carried away by the significance of the game.

The Scarlets provide the opposition and Munster are well warned of the threat they pose after they turned Leinster over last Friday night in the semi-final at the RDS.

They are the league’s in-form team, but the Reds topped the final table and come into the game as overwhelming favourites.

They have a chance to see off one of their heroes with a first trophy since 2011.

“Disappointed,” he said when asked about his reaction to losing Ryan.

“We are losing a good man on and off the pitch. From the club’s point of view on the pitch he is an incredible player and the amount of work he has got through this year and for the last 12 or 13 years or however long he has been here, the amount of caps he has…

“We are quite a young team with a squad that doesn’t have a huge amount of caps and Donners obviously has one of the highest.

“Look, it is a pity to lose him but it is nice that the last game I will play with him will be a final. It’ll hopefully be finishing off on a good note.

“The task ahead is very big and a difficult one with the quality that Scarlets have.

“I think we got our emotion way off the last time we played Glasgow (in the final) a few years ago.

“For us to win tomorrow we have to be tactically immaculate and our rugby has to be very good.

“The emotion will come but the most important thing is that we have our detail right and that we are accurate against Scarlets.

“Look, you’ve seen the performances they have put in. A lot of people have been talking about the Leinster game but they have been playing well for three or four months and even since their third game in the PRO12. They’ve hit a huge amount of form lately and we have to be very good tomorrow.”

O’Mahony was part of the wider squad that claimed the league title in 2011, but wasn’t involved on the final day.

He is determined to end Munster’s long wait for silverware.

“It would mean a huge amount,” he said.

“I was in the extended squad a few years ago when we won it and I've never been in a Munster jersey that's won a trophy. It's a huge goal of mine, personally and obviously for this group.

“It would be nice to finish this year off, but people are talking about us deserving - you deserve nothing unless you play well tomorrow and beat a quality side like Scarlets. You've got to go out and beat them, and it's going to be very difficult, but we deserve nothing.”

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