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24th Oct 2023

Peter O’Mahony pays class tribute to Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls

Patrick McCarry

Peter O'Mahony

“It’s been an honour to play alongside you both.”

Peter O’Mahony has released a poignant and highly personal statement on social media, following Ireland’s premature exit from the World Cup and the retirement of two men he played with for over a decade.

The Munster captain spoke incredibly well, in the aftermath of Ireland’s quarter final defeat to New Zealand. “It’s tough to lose these guys in these circumstances,” he reflected.

“I have spent a lot of time with Keith and Johnny. Probably most of my caps had one of the two of them in it, if not all of them. It’s tough to lose fellas like that, big characters and big players for us, and the best type of people who have your back all the time, good friends of mine.”

Having had some time to reflect on that World Cup journey, the retirements of Earls and Sexton, and perhaps his own rugby future, the Cork native has released a statement, accompanied with some really nice pictures.

Peter O'MahonyPeter O’Mahony of Ireland, centre, with teammates Jonathan Sexton, left, and Tadhg Furlong. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Peter O’Mahony tribute to Earls and Sexton

“Incredibly disappointed and gutted,” Peter O’Mahony stated. “It wasn’t just the past few months prep that has gone into this World Cup, it’s been four years of an investment and hard work.

“However, in saying that, I’m also extremely proud of the team, our coaches, the staff and our families behind us every single day. The past two months have been an incredible highlight of my life even after the last result.

“Hopefully we have inspired some of the younger ones amongst us to play the game we love at club and school level…and who knows, they might be the one’s representing our country in a few years time. We have been blown away by the support over in France and at home – beforehand, during and since we have arrived home – It’s truly been second to none. Thank you so much.

“To Keith Earls and Johnny Sexton, you both have left Irish rugby in a better place. It’s been an honour to play alongside you both and have you as some of my best friends.”

Peter O’Mahony makes no mention of his own future with Ireland, but he may well stick it out with Andy Farrell’s for the remainder of this season, at least.

The back-row was in fine form leading into, and during, the World Cup and Farrell would not want that old leadership corp to be completely decimated overnight.

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