Simon Lewis.


O’Mahony can park business to invest emotion in Munster cause

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony will put province before personal business while his future is being decided over the next few weeks, writes Simon Lewis.

O’Mahony can park business to invest emotion in Munster cause

O’Mahony, 28, has found himself as an unwanted centre of attention for the past week since details of his contract wrangle with the IRFU over a new deal beyond next June were leaked to the media, along with the additional information that clubs in England and France were more than happy to offer the Ireland flanker a whole lot more to leave these shores.

Scrum-half Conor Murray indicated yesterday that he thought his Munster, Ireland and Lions team-mates O’Mahony and fellow back-rower CJ Stander would stay with the province at which they made their names, but the decisions of Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo to leave for France in successive seasons has changed the landscape somewhat.

O’Mahony did not yesterday deny he was considering other offers, but while he would have preferred to discuss this Saturday’s Champions Cup visit of Leicester Tigers to Thomond Park, the Munster skipper said he was comfortable separating his playing objectives with financial goals.

“It’s very easy to focus the mind. What is going on is a business situation, it’s business deals. It’s separate. Your emotion is with the club and getting it right for the weekend, you know what I mean. The [agents] are dealing with it. It’s a different part of my life at the moment.

“They are dealing with it. It is not me. You don’t pick up the phone. It’s the lads are dealing with it. My focus is purely getting the lads and myself right for Leicester on Saturday.

“The lads are dealing with the bones of it. I might have to make a yes or no call, but that is just it. There has to be a decision made at some stage.”

The timing could have been better, as Munster head into pivotal back-to-back European pool meetings with Leicester and O’Mahony admitted: “I would have liked to have had it done sooner than this, to be honest. It is just the way it has fallen.

“To be fair to David [Nucifora, IRFU performance manager] he has got a lot of guys to do. It’s difficult to get it all done early, but I would certainly prefer to get it done a bit earlier, but that is the joys of it. I am hoping to get it done by January, one way or the other. That is the business side of it done. It’s Leicester for me this week.”

Munster head coach Johann van Graan said there was nothing more to report on the matter and that it was “all about the game” this weekend.

The same went for Murray, but while he explained the players were used to contract talk, he accepted the tremors that were being felt among Munster supporters when such news emerges.

“From the supporters’ point of view, their heart jumps, because they probably don’t get to speak to Peter or CJ, or anyone who is up for contract,” said Murray.

“When we hear rumours in the paper, we probably know, or we have had a chat to the lads about it and maybe our minds are a little bit more at ease, than the supporters, but it is just the time of year.

“I think we manage it really well, as a playing group. I think we know what is true and what is false and what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to.

“Having said that, what has happened with Donners Ryan and Zeebs, hopefully, it all gets sorted, because it is probably a bit more of a reality the players that can leave their clubs.

“Hopefully it won’t happen with Pete or CJ. I wouldn’t think it will. I don’t know what their situation is, but they are really part of this club and the vision we have and where we are going with it, so hopefully they will all get sorted.”

Asked why he was so positive that O’Mahony and Stander would sign new Munster deals, Murray replied: “Because I think they are part of this culture, what we have building here and what we want to achieve and they are leaders and they drive it.

“I don’t know what their situation is with their agents, with the IRFU, with whoever else is involved, I don’t know how that situation is going. I do know that it is very important for players to get their value, be happy with what the structure of their contract is, because that creates a happy player, creates a player who is not thinking about those kinds of things, creates a player who can focus on rugby and hopefully that gets sorted.

“We all understand that if it gets drawn out or takes a while, it is because you need to find your value, it is a short career, and that is the way things go.”

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