Peter O’Mahony: ‘If it was my last one it is not a bad one to go out on’

Ireland captain’s future remains uncertain after he lifted the Six Nations crown following victory over Scotland

Peter O’Mahony was emotional in the build-up to the start of the match, a fact to which Ireland head coach Andy Farrell alluded in the aftermath of Ireland’s 17-13 victory. That rawness was evident in his tear flecked face during the anthems, eyes squeezed shut as he tried to wrangle those feelings.

He produced a performance of which to be proud, hard-working, unrelenting, determined and with nuggets of quality, his tackle count and lineout work being two noteworthy contributions.

Rumours in the build-up that this would be his last game for Ireland retained that status in his post-match pitch interview afterwards, when asked to address the speculation. The Irish captain, through a hint of a smile, said: “I don’t know, I have a few chats to have with family and stuff over the next couple of weeks. If it was my last one it is not a bad one to go out on.”

The defeat at Twickenham cut deep, something that O’Mahony acknowledged: “Certainly it was one of the tougher weeks of my career, so for lots of different reasons. We were unhappy with the performance last week; we knew that we could do better.

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“We had a job to go and do and thankfully today we went out and did it against a seriously good Scottish side. Loads of grit, I thought we showed ambition with the ball in a damp, greasy environment. I thought we played some good rugby. The second half was massive for us.”

What changed after the interval? “The whole point was getting stuck in. We probably put a lot of lead in their [Scottish] legs with regard to the amount of rugby that we played, and we needed to get reward from it. We just said we’d stay at it. I thought that the 10 minutes after halftime was really impressive.”

O’Mahony was asked that if it was the end of his international career how would he feel? “We could sit here for an hour or two chatting about that, especially with the people, the players and staff. That World Cup experience really bonded this group.

“I know we are missing a couple of guys from that. Between our families and the group, we are tight. It’s a huge honour to captain your country, it is a huge honour every time you get selected to play for your country and I thought we showed it the utmost respect today.”

Perhaps the last word on O’Mahony’s impact and input to man of the match Jamison Gibson-Park. “He is a legend, isn’t he? It is a privilege to play alongside him.”

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