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10th May 2017

Peter O’Mahony recalls typically Munster advice that inspired his Lions dream

It's been some journey

Niall McIntyre

Peter O’Mahony has certainly done well.

The courageous Corkonian’s displays for Munster and Ireland have earned him selection in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad.

O’Mahony will become a Lion this summer, fittingly because of his lion-hearted drive and determination on the field of play. The back-rower was speaking with reporters on one of the many corporate events that populate one’s life as a Lion.

The Munster captain was careful not to get too far ahead of himself, conscious that he possibly has two big games left for his province – a Guinness PRO12 semi-final and final.

“Munster mean a huge amount to me,” he told The Irish Times, “and for us to be back winning silverware is very important for me.”

Pressed, though, on the honour of being selected for the 2017 Irish Lions squad, O’Mahony reflected on how far he has come in nine years, since he first got a taste of the Munster academy.

Indeed, there is a quote from his old academy coach that still chimes with the 27-year-old. Recalling it allows us to see how far his has come. According to O’Mahony, the coach told him and his fellow academy members:

‘There are 28 of you in the room, if we get two of you out of this room to play Heineken Cup rugby we will be doing well’,

“That puts it in perspective of how far you have to travel in your rugby career to be a Lion.”

O’Mahony did briefly discuss the honour of becoming a Lion. “There is a huge amount that goes with the jersey that you now have responsibility for,” he said, “so it is very important to know that and carry yourself in an appropriate way.”

“It is such a big deal to be picked for the Lions, such a big honour. Guys are coming up to you in the street, you’re thankful for that but still realise that you have some big matches before [you go to New Zealand].”

He can say that again.

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