Tuesday 16 January 2018

'It was a tough pill to swallow' - O'Mahony

O'Mahony to channel pain of All Blacks defeat into must-win Perpignan clash

Peter O'Mahony
Peter O'Mahony
Munster captain Peter O'Mahony insists that he and his team-mates will be ready for the physicality of Perpignan in Sunday's crucial Heineken Cup match.
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

ONLY playing will dim the memory of New Zealand's march towards Ireland's line during those fateful final seconds last month.

Peter O'Mahony was one of the walking wounded huddled on the touchline, as history slipped from their grasp. He has had two weeks to let it stew.

Some of the players got to vent their frustration last weekend, but, for most of the starters, they have had to wait until this weekend to purge that emotion.

The Munster captain couldn't train last week because of the dead leg he suffered in the first five minutes of the clash at Lansdowne Road.

He soldiered on for 50 more minutes before eventually making way and he was unable to do anything as the world champions scored their winning try and conversion.

however, feelings of disappointment have had to be discarded as the Heineken Cup comes into focus. For O'Mahony and Munster there is the prospect of back-to-back clashes with Perpignan and the knowledge that their route to the quarter-finals is straight forward – they need to win.

"It took a few days, all right," he said of getting over New Zealand. "It was a tough pill to swallow, but I had a good week last week, had a good rest and looked after the body. I put it to bed, got stuck in and it was great to be back on Monday.

"We had an overnight last night. It was a little mini-camp for ourselves and we got a good bit of work done over the last 48 hours, so it's great to be back in camp.

"You take a bit of bitterness out of the loss, but you take a bit of confidence out of the way we performed as well.

"It was a good performance and I think everyone's got to take confidence out of that. But as I said, it was certainly a tough pill to swallow and you've got to take a bit of bitterness and channel that, hopefully, and get stuck in again at the weekend."

O'Mahony missed the opening defeat against Edinburgh that meant Munster have no margin of error with regard to making the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

As Rob Penney said this week, they must beat the Top 14 side this Sunday to keep their last-eight hopes alive.

"I think we'll go out on Sunday to go and win the game in Thomond Park. First things first, and I know you're probably expecting me to say it, but now more than ever, the way this pool has gone, the win for us at the weekend is paramount," he said.

"We know anything else and we're out, so it's cup rugby from here on in. We knew that since the final whistle in Edinburgh went that it was cup rugby from then on and that's the way we're going to be treating it. We've got to go out on Sunday and get a win. There's nothing else we can accept.

"The performance that day wasn't good enough.

"Obviously, we would like to have had two out of two at this stage, but with the cards we've been dealt, maybe it makes things easier for us in that we know what we've got to do – win every (remaining) game.

"Maybe there's a bit of a positive out of that. Obviously, it's not ideal, but we'll just have to get on with it."

A Sunday lunchtime kick-off is never ideal and the usual intimidation factor that goes with a European tie at Thomond Park could be negated by the early start.

"These things are out of our control," O'Mahony said.

"We've just got to prepare as well as we can. We've addressed it earlier on in the week, where we're getting up a bit earlier and we're training earlier, getting a couple of stretches in early and that kind of thing.

"But an early kick-off on a Sunday is not an excuse for a professional team any more. We have to get on with these things."

A little video work on Perpignan will reveal they are a big team with clever hands, but they are also an outfit whose willingness to try things will hand the opposition opportunities.

"They do try things and sometimes bits of magic come off. They can look awesome at times and I think they have a pack that can compete with anyone in Europe," O'Mahony said.

"They're a big, physical pack and have an excellent set-piece. The big thing at the weekend is that it's going to be a physical encounter and that's what we've got to get ourselves ready for.

"From one to 15 we've got to be physical and not disappoint these guys come Sunday. They'll be expecting it and, hopefully, we'll be able to give it to them."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport