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15th Oct 2022

Peter O’Mahony takes aim at “hysteria” and “disappointing” Munster criticism

Patrick McCarry

Peter O'Mahony

The Munster captain is well aware of the criticism that has encircled his team, this season.

For Peter O’Mahony, there has not been much rest for the wicked.

The Munster captain helped Ireland to a series victory over the All Blacks, in New Zealand, had a few weeks off to spend with his wife and children, and tend to his garden, before he was back in pre-season. The plan – with Emerging Ireland dipping into each of the provinces – was to return earlier than originally planned.

Nine Munster players went off to South Africa with Simon Easterby and Gavin Coombes’ groin injury meant O’Mahony would be lacing up for early season games. First, though, there was the matter of a big ceremony and an exchange of vows, in front of their full complement of family and friends, with wife Jessica. A short stretch to revel in that occasion then into it from round two of the United Rugby Championship.

As per usual with O’Mahony, there were full-on shifts, running repairs, lineout steals, a running commentary for whoever [including the refs] that were listening, more running repairs and a healthy dollop of turnovers and breakdown nuisance-ry.

Still, Munster were struggling to get going. Three defeats from their first four URC games, allied with missing out on the league and European semi-finals, two pre-season losses, and some turgid performances and there were reasons for concern

After leading Munster to a 31-17 victory over the Bulls, at Thomond Park, on Saturday evening, O’Mahony came out firing at some critics that, in his opinion, got carried away with his side’s slow start.

“There has been a lot of what I described it, earlier in the week, as hysteria… there was some disappointing stuff, from some people.”

O’Mahony argued that Munster are now getting back closer to a full squad to chose from, and will continue to improve once there is cohesion in the coming months.

Graham Rowntree on Munster progress

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree was also up for post-match interview duties, on TG4, and waited patiently as host Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill and her guests gave their reactions, as Gaeilge, to the league encounter.

“Firstly, thanks for having me,” Rowntree began. “I have no idea what you were saying, but I’ll carry on.”

“Our fans have been very loyal for sticking with us,” he added, “and we owed them a performance like that… the best thing about the performance is that we’ve worked really hard with coming on the field… I’m really pleased with the defensive set, at the end, to keep them out. Proud of the lads.”

Rowntree said the Munster players – like Thomas Ahern, Jack Crowley, Shane Daly and Calvin Nash – that returned from the Emerging Ireland mini tour to South Africa had added ‘a different energy’ to the squad.

Up next for Munster is a trip to Dublin to take on unbeaten Leinster, followed by home games against Connacht and Ulster.

*House of Rugby returns this week, with Greg O’Shea joined by Lindsay Peat & Ian Madigan. Subscribe here to catch the new episode when it drops*

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