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The Paul O'Connell Story That Sums Up Peter O'Mahony's 'Mongrel' Spirit

The Paul O'Connell Story That Sums Up Peter O'Mahony's 'Mongrel' Spirit
By Gavin O'Callaghan
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It's unofficially Peter O'Mahony appreciation week. The Munster man was given the honour of captaining the Lions against the Maori All Blacks last Saturday to the delight of his father and now he's on the verge of captaining the tourists in their first Test against the All Blacks this weekend.

Earlier this year, O'Mahony looked like an outsider for a place in the Lions squad but after some impressive Munster performances and a huge game against England, the Cork man got the opportunity to board the plane to New Zealand.

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O'Mahony has always been regarded as a leader. In his autobiography 'The Battle', Paul O'Connell related how even before O'Mahony had turned 21, he had been marked as a future Munster captain.

Peter O'Mahony was coming through and we had seen leadership from him from day one. I could tell by the way he trained - he was hungry. You could see it in his carries - he was twisting, turning, kicking with his socks around his ankles, doing everything to get over the line.

The first day I met him he was just a kid in the academy and he was going around shaking people's hands. We'd just won a game with Ireland and he came up to me

'Well done the other day - I was up there at it.'

I was taken aback by his confidence. It was impressive, and seeing a character like him in the academy was encouraging. I don't think he was even twenty-one when I had him down as future Munster captain.

During this tour, Warren Gatland described what Peter O'Mahony brings to the fold as 'Munster Mongrel'.

Another anecdote from O'Connell's book nicely sums up the tenacity with which O'Mahony plays the game.

There were times when I felt like I needed to rev things up. I remember, during a non-contact session, pulling Peter O'Mahony aside.

'The two of us will go full contact here now.'

'Are you serious?'

'Yes.'

I didn't think he would take me quite so literally. He went straight out and spear-tackled Simon Zebo. After that, we had a really sharp session.

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