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O'Mahony's joy over captaincy

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Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony during a press conference ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America. Picture: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile.

Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony during a press conference ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America. Picture: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile.

Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony during a press conference ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America. Picture: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile.

RORY BEST stepped on to a plane to Australia. Peter O'Mahony stepped in to captain Ireland on the two-test tour to the United States and Canada.

"It is a huge honour for me and my family," responded O'Mahony.

"Obviously, I was delighted to get the call. I was delighted for Bestie as well to get called to the Lions. We probably all thought he deserved it in the first place.

"We all should have been sending our text messages a few weeks ago (when the Lions squad was announced) as congratulations."

It is as seamless a transition of Ireland captaincy, in the circumstances, as you can get, given how O'Mahony has played the role for every team he has represented since asked to captain the Cork Constitution U-12s.

You don't need to know O'Mahony too well to see that he is man enough to know that he doesn't know it all yet.

The way he communicates with the referee against the USA and Canada is the most immediate evidence to measure his captaincy. Experience is knowledge.

"Different captains have different ways of going about it. It is about working with them as much as you can," he said.

"We are lucky in that we get to work with world-class referees in nearly all of the games that we play, so they are not a factor in a lot of them.

"You do your best to keep them onside and look after them and, from 1-15, have respect for them. It comes with a bit more experience.

"I have been lucky in that I have been able to watch Paulie and Drico and these guys, so I've had some good learning off these guys."

In terms of the Ireland squad, Leinster tighthead Mike Ross sat out training with what was described as "a minor dead leg" by team manager Mick Kearney.


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