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O'Mahony: we want to repay fans we have let down

Down to business: Peter O’Mahony
Down to business: Peter O’Mahony

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Whether Ireland are riding the crest of a wave or down in the doldrums, Peter O'Mahony's expression when faced with the cameras remains a constant.

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The vice-captain never looks too happy to be in the spotlight, but yesterday he was put forward as the squad's spokesman to give his take on a desperately disappointing day at the office.

The Corkman has been a leader ever since he picked up a rugby ball. He didn't have a great game against England, like most of his team-mates, but O'Mahony wasn't offering excuses yesterday.

Nor was he about to give away the secrets from the inner sanctum of the video review room.

He dismissed the idea that England carried more passion into Saturday's game, and focused on a lack of accuracy, that has so often been the team's strength.

Most of all, he resolved on behalf of the team to find a response to the 32-20 defeat.

"What we do is we go out and we train well," O'Mahony said.

"It hurts. That bit of hurt will be there this week, you want to go and win for Ireland more than anything.

"That has a match under it then when you've lost in front of your own crowd.

"It's something we haven't done in a while.

"These people pay a huge amount of money to come and see us. Every time we come and play at the Aviva we have it full, they follow us all over Europe and around the world.

"The last place you want to let them down is at home.

"Naturally, the beast in you wants to put it right. That's what we have to go and do this week."

Joe Schmidt's reviews are legendary, but the Munster skipper said the players have to take ownership for their own actions in defeat.

Their levels of accuracy dipped against England, while he conceded that the team needed to improve their ability to solve problems on the run.

"Accuracy - that's an area we focus on hugely and I thought it was an area we can go back to this week and work hard on," he said.

"You can't be physical and you can't be going after teams if you don't have the ball. When you are going after teams and you cough up the ball it is a big pressure release for them.

"That's certainly the area we'll be focusing on this week. It (problem solving) is always something we can do better.

"It is probably the hardest part of the game, that decision making.

"You know; Ireland v England at home, 55,000 people, first game of the Six Nations - that is the part you train week in, week out for, the hours you put in for.

"Decision making is the hardest part, you can try and simulate it in training but you can't do that. That's done through experience.

"Luckily, we have a huge amount of guys with experience, but that's an area where we can always get better and certainly an area we can improve on from last week."

In recent times O'Mahony has enjoyed huge success in green, but in his earlier days he got a taste what the other side feels like.

For a number of his team-mates like James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Porter and Jordan Larmour, Saturday was a new experience.

In the long-term, they may look back on it as a formative one but right now it's all about their response.

"It is part and parcel of sport," O'Mahony said.

"These guys have been so lucky - actually I think lucky is the wrong word - these guys are breaking their backs week in and week out to get these kind of results.

"They understand these things happen and the best way of putting that to bed is getting out there now, this evening and tomorrow; training to the best of your ability and training to as high a standard as possible.

"Seeing Jordan Larmour out there, tearing it up in training, or Robbie Henshaw or Niall Scannell, guys training as well as they can, it gives everyone a lift.

"When you see guys setting high standards, that is what we hold ourselves to.

"And that is what has to be done now."

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