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Tuesday 21 November 2017

O'Mahony was born to be a Lions leader

Peter O’Mahony. Pic: Getty Images
Peter O’Mahony. Pic: Getty Images

There are those born to run and those born to lead.

It has always been in Peter O'Mahony's nature to lead on the rugby journey from his school Presentation Brothers Cork, to his club Cork Constitution and on up the ranks for Munster, Ireland, through the Age Grades, and for The British & Irish Lions this morning.

It may well have been that the catastrophic cut of rupturing his cruciate ligament cost O'Mahony the Ireland captaincy.

This was a trick Warren Gatland did not miss when Sam Warburton turned up on tour at less than 100 per cent.

"It was always in him, he was always a leader," said Conor Murray.

"He was always someone who, if something wasn't done right he'd want to put it right and he wouldn't be happy until it was."

The aura of leadership has to be layered with the details of the responsibility.

In rugby, there is the 'follow me' example of the man with the armband. That is O'Mahony.

This has to be dressed up with a multi-skilled knack for knowing not just what to do, but what to say and how to say it.

This is relevant when laying down the law behind closed doors or lifting the spirit of the individual.

O'Mahony has had the privilege of learning from Paul O'Connell, the inspirational 2009 Lions captain, as did Warburton when O'Connell was the voice of reason in 2013.

"When we all came into Munster, we've grown up with the likes of Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, all these guys," added Murray.

"We've grown up with them and we've taken a lot of experience and learned an awful lot from them."

Incidentally, it is no co-incidence that Murray is being mentioned as a Lions leader and a possible Ireland captain of the future.

"From young age group sides where Pete captained me, he's been the same," said the scrum-half.

"Obviously he's learned as time has gone on, through different experiences, he's developed his leadership skills.

"It's always been a dream of his to captain the Lions."

A dream that has come true.

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