Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony treasures ‘most special’ Six Nations title

Ireland's flanker Peter O'Mahony and prop Tadhg Furlong lift the Six Nations trophy after winning their Test against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP

Ireland's flanker Peter O'Mahony and prop Tadhg Furlong lift the Six Nations trophy after winning their Test against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP

Published Mar 17, 2024


Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony said captaining his country to the Six Nations title was "probably the most special" of the five he has won in a press conference that sounded as if it was his valedictory performance.

The Munster great turns 35 in September and was named skipper for the Six Nations, though, he had revealed on Friday he was yet to discuss with head coach Andy Farrell if he would retain the post.

The combative flanker was in tears prior to the kick-off as the emotion of the occasion got to him.

However, he kept them in check on the pitch to steer his side to a 17-13 win over the Scots as the Irish retained the title and emulated Joe Schmidt's side in 2014/15.

“Unbelievably special," said O'Mahony, who was also a member of the Schmidt title-winning sides.

"I think this is probably the most special. It was a tough week that we put down as a group.

"I said to Andy on the way in here, it was a tough week and it was probably one of the toughest days I put down to nerves beforehand.

"Chatting to a few fellas, they were in the same boat, which was nice, but it's 100 percent up there with one of the most special days of my career, if not the most (special)."

O'Mahony said that even though Saturday was the 105th time he had donned the Ireland shirt the pressure had got to him as the anthems played.

Normally he belts them both out but on this occasion his head was bowed and the tears flowed freely — his Munster teammate Tadhg Beirne standing alongside him gave a consoling pat on the head.

There was perhaps even more pressure on O'Mahony as he had been yellow-carded in the 23-22 defeat by England last Saturday which dashed their hopes of historic back to back Six Nations Grand Slams.

“We didn't want to lose last week but we knew we needed to get back on the horse and put in a better performance.

"Coming back home, Championship on the line, the whole lot — it was an important game for us and I felt the pressure, felt the nerves."

'We're realists'

O'Mahony would not commit himself to playing on at Test level at least.

"We'll see," he replied when asked whether it was his final Test match.

"I don't know. I need to go talk to my wife and family and have a think about it.

"Next week we'll have to have a chat.

"I'm still loving it.

"If it was my last one, it wasn't a bad one to go out on.

"You can hang the jersey in a good place if it was."

Several players have apparently urged him to stay on but Farrell said it would come down to what was best for O'Mahony.

"I've been an unbelievable, big fan of Pete all his career and we've a close enough relationship to be honest with one another," said Farrell.

"We've been talking about his career, certainly over when it's getting to the end, for the last year.

"We're realists as far as that's concerned."

O'Mahony, who has plenty to occupy himself if he retires from Test rugby as he is a keen gardener, made a typically generous gesture when it came to the trophy ceremony at Lansdowne Road.

He asked prop Tadhg Furlong to lift it with him — the Leinster star's father James died, aged 64, in December last year.

"Yeah, look, it was a nice moment for him and his family, and I thought it was appropriate," he said.

"He's had a tough few months and I don't need to talk about that anymore. It was a nice moment to share with him."

For Scotland coach Gregor Townsend there was much to take from the match as it was a far cry from the 36-14 thrashing his side suffered at Ireland's hands in the Rugby World Cup pool match last October.

"I feel really proud of the players. All 23 — the effort they put in today in one of the toughest environments to play in," he said.


Related Topics: