Johnny Sexton had a great take on that sublime Peter O'Mahony offload
"Hopefully there's more of it to come over the next few weeks"
As a proud Leinster man, Johnny Sexton was probably expecting to be extolling the virtues of Will Connors, Hugo Keenan, Caelan Doris and more after Ireland's 50-17 win over Italy. There simply had to be a Peter O'Mahony question squeezed in there!
Ireland went into the 2020 Guinness Six Nations resumption with a new-look back row that saw Doris and Connors partnering CJ Stander while O'Mahony was bumped onto the bench and Josh van der Flier had to miss out.
O'Mahony would have been gutted with the call, but he got down to work and did what was needed to prepare the starters. On Saturday, after the training runs were done, he took his place on the bench and waited for his opportunity.
He got on (for Doris) after 67 minutes with Ireland 31-10 up and looking to ramp up the points difference before their Paris showdown with France. It took him only 90 seconds to make an impact, but it was with a sumptuous offload rather than his usual breakdown work, brutish tackling or lineout steals.
O'Mahony went on the tear and dished out an underhanded offload to Bundee Aki to set the Connacht man up for a score in the corner:
When they said Peter O'Mahony would be an impact sub, they surely never had this in mind... 😮 pic.twitter.com/SB24iZrc4d
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) October 24, 2020
With the final question of the post-match briefing, I asked Sexton if that was the sort of impact he was expecting from Peter O'Mahony.
"You love talking about the Munster lads!" Sexton joked. The Ireland outhalf had a great view of the offload, as two Italians were taken out by the flanker's slick pass.
"He was very good when he came on," Sexton said, "it was a lovely touch.
"His work around the lineout was excellent as well, so it was great for him. Obviously, he missed a bit of the camp with the cases down in Munster. He was late to come in, so to pick up all the stuff we had done without him in the first few days was testament to the professional he is. I'm sure he'll enjoy that and hopefully, there's more of it to come over the next few weeks."
Given how well the Irish back row fared against Italy, O'Mahony may have to settle for another replacements role against France next weekend. With a bonus point win most likely needed to win a title, we could yet see more silky skills from the hardy Cork native.