Peter O'Mahony captain's speech before the Lions' First Test was absolutely unreal 4 years ago

Peter O'Mahony captain's speech before the Lions' First Test was absolutely unreal

Given the season Peter O'Mahony was coming off, this speech was all the more poignant and intense.

2016/17 was an unforgettable one for O'Mahony in so many ways.


He was captain of a Munster team that was rocked to its core by the death of coach Anthony Foley [O'Mahony's idol growing up] and that somehow rallied to reach a Champions Cup semi final and the PRO12 final. Days after Foley's tragic passing, O'Mahony recalled:

"I grew up following him around the place, even though he didn't know it. And then to be allowed come in and rub shoulders with guys like him... he had just finished playing when I came into the academy and my developmental contract.

"But for him to be around and to be allowed talk to him and be in his presence was a dream come true at the time."

For Ireland, O'Mahony missed the heroics of Soldier Field but led Ireland to victory over Canada and proved a fearsome impact sub until he go another starting chance against England and grasped it with both hands. His performances against England and, two weeks later for Munster, Toulouse saw him go from Lions outsider to squad member.

He then went further than that with superb outings for the Lions against Crusaders and New Zealand Maori and was bestowed the honour of captaining them for the First Test against the world champion All Blacks.


In The British & Irish Lions: Uncovered documentary of the summer tour, O'Mahony is not focused upon as a central character. Tour captain Sam Warburton, Stuart Hogg, Kyle Sinckler and Sean O'Brien all get a lot of air-time while CJ Stander provides some colourful commentary during the Test Series.

O'Mahony does not speak much but, when he does, he gets his points across.

Ahead of that victory over NZ Maori, the flanker tells his teammates, "How fucking hard can you word, and do the fucking hard things? … It’s not about being selfish today; it’s about being selfless."


Days after that game, O'Mahony is made captain in a strangely muted team announcement led by Lions head coach Warren Gatland, Mako Vunipola and George Kruis congratulate O'Mahony, who spends much of the announcement staring a hole in the floor.

We do not get to see if the Cork native spoke on the night before the game, when Brian O'Driscoll handed out the jerseys, but we definitely hear him in the huddle before that First Test. With his teammates gathered round, O'Mahony delivers a fiery speech:

"Boys, today, whoever means something to you, or whatever it means to you, whether they're fucking at home, whether they're in the stands or whether they're not here any more, they've got to feel it in your eyes when you get out there today. 

"From the first second you take to the pitch, it's non-negotiable today.

"Everything after that is cool, collected discipline to it that they can't live it.

"Everybody's got to fucking see it!"

The Lions certainly fronted up in the first half of that electric encounter but the All Blacks took the spoils in the First Test. Perhaps the result is the only thing that will prevent O'Mahony's words from going down as one of the best in all-time Lions history.


Warburton returned to captain the Lions in the Second and Third Tests but it is heartening to see how much that series comeback means to him. In the Third Test, the camera rests on O'Mahony as Elliott Daly takes a kick that will get the Lions back to within three points in the drawn game.

"Go on ta fuck, ye!" he bellows as the kick eeks its way over.

Intensity, even from the stands.

The British & Irish Lions: Uncovered is on official release from November 13 and is well worth the watch.