Irish squad wanted Paulie as captain

Peter O'Mahony, Jack McGrath and Conor Murray arrive for squad training. Picture: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Peter O’Mahony admitted the entire Irish squad were secretly hoping Paul O’Connell would be named Irish captain yesterday.

“It’s great to have Paulie back fit and I don’t have to explain to anyone what he means to the squad. Obviously for me he’s a talismanic leader, someone who I’ve always looked up to,” said the 23-year-old who succeeded O’Connell as Munster captain. “It was kind of unsaid all week, everyone was waiting for a captain, but everyone was just waiting for him to named, you know. That’s just the way it goes, the way it is with him.”

O’Mahony heaped praise on O’Connell for all the help he gave him to develop as a player and become the captain of Munster.

“Most of the time you wouldn’t even know he’s helping, but just standing next to him and just being around him and watching what he does. You learn a huge amount even if it’s not one to one chats which I would have with him on a regular basis anyway now that I’m captain of Munster.

“He’s very important for me as well as he is for Munster, but you wouldn’t have to sit down with him, just watch him and see how he carries himself, and you’d learn a lot off a guy like that.”

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