Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Peter O'Mahony hails battling display as a career highlight

Key role: Peter O'Mahony with his man of the match award

He looked a bit startled by it all, the massed ranks of dictaphones and other recording devices discomforting Peter O'Mahony rather more than anything from Wales had managed to do earlier in the day.

And what a game he had delivered, a man of the match performance which had further cemented O'Mahony's accelerating reputation as one of Ireland's key performers with his skill and timing at winning turnovers again regularly showing itself.

And as if that wasn't enough, the Munsterman had also proved a useful target in the lineouts and had even filled in at second row after Dan Tuohy's abrupt departure in the second half.

"They can have it to be honest," was his quip after packing down in the engine room and being asked what it was like.

"Scrummaging in the second row is tough going so I think I'll stick to the backrow as much as I can," said the player who in last season's defeat to Italy actually ended up as an auxiliary wing.

But back to the Wales game and O'Mahony – who gave his counterpart Dan Lydiate – a Lion no less – a masterclass in the art of dominating the breakdown accepted that, yes, he had produced a pretty effective performance.

"It's got to be up there," he admitted of his notable effort.

"Just to do the shirt justice and then sitting down with a cup of tea and the lads around you is a great feeling.

"I'm getting there, I'm always learning and there is a lot of work to be done until I'm the finished.

"I'm learning under the new coaching staff and I'm learning from the players," added O'Mahony.

The blindside flanker's poaching at the breakdown was a dominant image from this encounter but never more so than eight minutes into the second half when he won a penalty off the prone Sam Warburton as Wales desperately sought a way back into the game.

"We're all trying to put ourselves in the best position," was O'Mahony's rather self-effacing take on his afternoon's work.

"Sometimes you just don't get the involvement because of the way some teams play but I've been lucky it has come my way over the last couple of weeks.

"When it comes to the breakdown it's the mental side of things," he continued.

"You have to be there early and you have to anticipate and that is what we have been installing over the last couple of weeks."

After also mentioning that discipline was also critical – Ireland kept the penalty count in single figures and only conceded nine as opposed to Wales' 15 – O'Mahony explained that it wasn't so much the scoreline that cheered him, but the overall performance.

"I think that the most pleasing thing was the performance that the 15 guys put in, we just fought for everything and that was what we had talked about."

And now with Warren Gatland's 'Lions' vanquished, its on for a Triple Crown tilt at Twickenham. Don't bet against O'Mahony doing it all again with interest.

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