Peter O’Mahony will lead the Lions into battle against the New Zealand Maori at Rotorua on Saturday, while the Niall and Rory Scannell of Dolphin join a prestigious band of brothers to achieve Irish international recognition when they start a Test together for the first time against Japan.
There was celebration in Temple Hill, the home of Constitution, yesterday, following O’Mahony’s selection as skipper of the Lions team, the Munster captain following on a line of illustrious players from the club to do so.
Outgoing president Jerry Holland described it as a “huge honour” that one of their players should again be singled out for captaincy of such a high profile international team.
“There’s a huge sense of pride in the club about this, I would be delighted for Peter and for the O’Mahony family for this honour in being selected as captain for such a big game. Peter started at under 7s in Con, he has represented us both on and off the field with great honour, both as Munster captain, Ireland captain at under 18, 20 and senior levels, his selection with the Lions and now getting the captaincy for what is a hugely important match.
“This is surely a fantastic honour for Peter and his family. The club made a presentation to him prior to his departure as we have done for any of the Lions from the club previously, and he is following in the footsteps of some magnificent players and great servants of the club.
“We’re absolutely delighted for him and we surely hope all goes well for him on Saturday. We’re delighted too that his dad, John, who is our senior vice-president in Con will be there to witness it. That’s clearly going to be a great day for the whole clan.” There was further celebration a wee bit across the city in Pearse Road, where Dolphin mentors were excited at the prospect of watching the Scannell brothers join a unique list of family members to represent Ireland.
O’Mahony, Niall and Rory are all products of the famous Cork rugby nursery Presentation Brothers College and yesterday Dolphin’s rugby chairman John Stringer described their joint selection to play Japan in Shizuoka as “brilliant and unique”.
Mr Stringer elaborated: “They appeared together for the first time against the USA but this will obviously be their first start together and I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone in the club when I say we would be thrilled.
“The family in general are super Dolphin supporters and the guys have been brilliant in promoting the club over the last couple of years. They’re following on the line of some great internationals from this club.
“When Niall (five appearances) got capped, we were saying in the club we felt it was only time until Rory made the breakthrough. He did that in America and now gets another chance to play for his country and to play alongside his brother.
“It’s a great achievement for them, for the family, for their school and for our club.
“The club is extremely proud of what the boys have achieved to date and we can only wish them all the best on Saturday; I’m sure they will do very well because they are two very accomplished players by any stretch of the imagination.”
Mr Stringer also referred to the appearance of a former Dolphin player, John Quill, who lined out for the Eagles against Ireland last week. “It was a remarkable weekend in a sense to have three Dolphin players in such a big match and we would be proud of him (Quill) as well.”