"An incredible honour, and no better man" - O'Mahony on Murray's Lions captain
The last Munster man to walk that road paid tribute to the man about to do so.
Peter O'Mahony is currently staving off back-row threats from within the Ireland squad, but he would dearly have loved to be doing similar with the Lions.
The Munster captain put himself in the Lions picture with a series of excellent performances for Ireland in late 2020. The 2021 Six Nations did not go anywhere close to plan, though, and he missed out on squad selection.
While Andy Farrell gave senior players like Cian Healy, Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls these two summer games off, O'Mahony said his lack of Test match action in 2021 [sent off early against Wales and came off the bench for the win over England] meant he was never going to sit the Japan and USA games out.
"If selected" is the O'Mahony mantra when discussing the upcoming games, but he looks set to feature in both and may yet lead Ireland out, on Saturday, if James Ryan [adductor] does not pass his fitness markers.
The Cork native is enthused by uncapped players in the Ireland squad and says it reminds him of his own first involvements with the senior squad, back in 2012. Still, he is following what is going on with the Lions, who he toured with in 2017, closely.
As the last Munster man to captain the Lions, in the First Test against the All Blacks, O'Mahony was well placed, then, to give his take on Conor Murray replacing the injured Alun Wyn Jones as tour captain.
"I am delighted for him. It is an incredible honour. The Lions are a special entity. No better man.
"How many years has he been around? The big games that he has played, the experience he has in terms of a third (Lions) tour is legend stuff. He keeps striving to be better, the work the fella puts in is incredible, and I am delighted for him."
Asked if he had any advice for his Munster and Ireland teammate, O'Mahony scoffed. Even if he did had a long phone-call with Murray, he was not about to share the details.
"It’s his third tour, he has an incredible amount of caps for them already, incredible amount of international caps, incredible amount of experience so it’s great for him."