Peter O’Mahony: Pain but no panic in Ireland camp ahead of Murrayfield

‘It just shows how good you have to be every week to do something special’

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony wins a lineout and passes to Conor Murray during the Six Nations match against England. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony wins a lineout and passes to Conor Murray during the Six Nations match against England. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Ireland are in pain but they do not need a wake-up call. Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony pointed out that while the first Irish get-together after the opening game against England was truthful, Ireland can still win the Six Nations Championship.

It might take a sympathetic run of results with England having to lose one of their next four matches. But O’Mahony had his game face on after Ireland were out muscled in Dublin on Saturday.

“Absolutely,” said O’Mahony, when asked if Ireland can still win the competition

“It’s always honest,” he added about the review of the game. “It’s been that way for a long time now. Guys know what the story is. Look, we hold ourselves personally, and as a squad, more accountable than anyone else will. The lads are hurting more than anyone.

“But we can’t sit around here feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to take our review on the chin, dust ourselves off and try and get back into the week. There’s a lot of rugby to be played between now and the end of the campaign.

“This squad doesn’t need a wake-up call. But it just shows how good you have to be every week to do something special.”

The Munster backrow admitted that more pressure has filtered into the squad looking towards Scotland in Murrayfield next weekend. It has become a must-win game if his hopes of winning the competition are realistic.

“We’ll be chasing a big week this week,” he admitted. “Obviously, it’s hugely important for us to perform this weekend – this is cup rugby from start to finish but it puts a bit more pressure on us now.

“I sit here all the time and tell you we won’t be looking past Saturday because you could get caught by an excellent Scottish team. You can’t afford to do that now.”

With CJ Stander injured and out of contention with a fractured eye socket, Seán O’Brien may come into the starting line-up as number eight, although Jack Conan, who was not part of the squad that lost to England, more of the specialist in that position along with Jordi Murphy and Rhys Ruddock.

“Look, I’m not going to sit here and pick the team but Seánie O’Brien, the name alone speaks for itself. A Lion, however many caps he has for Ireland,” said O’Mahony.

“He’s been very important for us in the last few weeks, he’s been unlucky with injury here and there but there isn’t anybody more professional and a big-game player than Seánie O’Brien is.”

O’Mahony added that Ireland were not going to be goaded into a panic after one flat turnout. Although a number of players in the team including lock James Ryan have had a remarkable streak of winning matches, there is no cause for alarm.

“No, I don’t know why we would be panicking,” explained O’Mahony. “You know we’ve been sitting here for a long time now and it’s been all positive this and that. But we were up against one of the best teams in the world and we got beaten, and we’re certainly not going to shy away from that.

“As I said, it hurts but we’re going to go back to what we do well and we’re going to do that excellently this week, hopefully.”

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