Ireland will bounce back - O'Mahony
Peter O'Mahony insists Ireland will rise from the ashes of their worst RBS 6 Nations performance that only saw them escape the wooden spoon on points difference.
A first championship defeat to Italy meant they finished fifth for the first time since 1999 with only France beneath them in the final table. The failed seven-week campaign could spell the end of Declan Kidney's four-and-a-half year reign as head coach, even when the bewildering number of injuries suffered by the squad are taken into account.
O'Mahony, one of the few players to emerge from the tournament with his reputation enhanced, has seen enough to suggest Ireland will emerge from the wreckage a stronger force. He said: "I probably won't take a look at the game for a few days, it's still sinking in. It's a low feeling."
The Munster flanker continued: "We have to stick together and back ourselves. There's the making of a super team here. The eight weeks have flown by and the fellas have really enjoyed playing together and for each other.
"If you don't have that but have all the time in the world, you're going nowhere. We'll be a very tough team to beat once we learn from this Six Nations."
O'Mahony, who spent much of Saturday's match against Italy on the left wing due to the number of injuries being sustained, has given his full backing to Kidney.
"The players should take the blame for what's happened. We've been given every opportunity to go out and play for Ireland," O'Mahony said. "It has to come down to the players, I don't know where the stick aimed at the coaches is coming from.
"We're the ones who have made decisions on the pitch and have made mistakes at times. It's on our heads, we're the ones who are not delivering.
"All 23 of us in the squad against Italy and everyone in the extended training squad are 100 per cent behind the coaching staff. That will be the case until they move on, which hopefully won't be any time soon."
Brian O'Driscoll will discover by 2.30pm today whether he will face disciplinary proceedings for his stamp on Simone Favaro in the 22-15 defeat. O'Driscoll lifted his right leg and brought it down onto the chest of Favaro, the Italy openside, and was sent to the sin bin by referee Wayne Barnes.