'It's what every parent would want for their son' - Peter O'Mahony's father John on son's Lions captaincy
Peter O'Mahony's father, John O'Mahony, said that he was 'thrilled' for his son when he found out that Peter would captain the British & Irish Lions for Saturday's opening Test match with New Zealand at Eden Park.
O'Mahony was given the captaincy ahead of incumbent tour captain Sam Warburton, who will start the first Test from the bench, after the Munster skipper put in a series of strong performances alongside Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau in the Lions warm-up games.
John O'Mahony, who has flown over to Auckland to watch his son play in the opening Test, told Today FM's Ian Dempsey on Friday that the Lions captaincy is a testament to the hard work that his son has put in over his career.
“It’s what every parent would wish for their son," said O'Mahony.
"It’s just an unbelievable accolade that he has achieved. It’s incredible and I’m thrilled for him.
“Whatever aspiration you have for your children and (you hope) it works out for them, that’s wonderful, but certainly this was a little step beyond which anybody could have reasonably expected.
“It’s amazing but it’s a testament to the work he’s done himself over the years and it’s wonderful for Irish rugby across the board.”
John added that the significance of Peter leading the Lions out against the Maori All Blacks last weekend was not lost on him as both a parent and as a rugby fan, but that it was nice catching up with his son in an environment where he didn't feel like he was forced to talk about rugby.
However, while he spoke with great affinity for his son's achievement, and rightfully so given where Peter's standing in international rugby stood just a few months ago, he also said that he really had no inkling that his son was going to start, never mind receive the captaincy.
“Ultimately, it was a huge surprise, there’s no getting away from that and the significance of his captaincy against a Māori team in New Zealand wasn’t lost on me," added O'Mahony.
“Fingers crossed and you live in hope that these things come to pass but you’re never sure until the team is announced.
“We got together for a good time yesterday. I think that’s a period where he doesn’t feel obliged to talk about rugby. We talked about home, his brothers and catching up on news from there.
“It gives him a little outlet that he uses to sidetrack away from rugby. It’s been wonderful and I won’t see him until after the game tomorrow evening.”