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Monday 18 December 2017

O'Mahony plays the waiting game

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony. Pic: Sportsfile
Munster’s Peter O’Mahony. Pic: Sportsfile

There was a time when Ireland's finest, like Brian O'Driscoll, claimed to be on their way out the green door.

This was crystallised in that embarrassing moment when Biarritz President Marcel Martin tried to parade him as their superstar signing in 2005.

Every time Jamie Heaslip's contract has come up for discussion, there has been talk of the Israeli-born number eight leaving the country in which he has been the best-paid player.

There have been many others who have flirted with lucrative moves abroad. Seán O'Brien to Toulon. Ronan O'Gara to the NFL in the United States.

Then, Jonathan Sexton changed the landscape of contract negotiations when delivering on his threat because the IRFU failed to match Heaslip's numbers.

Ian Madigan finally had enough of being versatile but not automatic at Leinster.

Donnacha Ryan stayed true to his principles when the IRFU failed to offer him a national contract, making his long-awaited debut for Racing 92 at the weekend.

Now, Peter O'Mahony, the holder of a coveted national contract, is holding the IRFU to a January deadline.

"Look, it's well documented at this time of year you get offers from clubs in France and England.

"I'm going to leave my agents sort all that side of it," he said yesterday.

The Munster captain is a talismanic presence in the red shirt.

However, he was not even in the Ireland team, due to form, until Heaslip went down just before the Six Nations match against England.

The Corkman is an indispensible piece of the puzzle for his province. They can't afford to lose O'Mahony.

However, Ireland can.

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