Leeside Lion O'Mahony is ready to roar while Furlong flies the flag for Whiddy Island

Leeside Lion O'Mahony is ready to roar while Furlong flies the flag for Whiddy Island
Peter O'Mahony of Munster. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Seán McCarthy

Rugby

PETER O’MAHONY will be the pride of Cork when he roars into action for the British and Irish Lions this summer.

The 27-year-old Munster powerhouse will represent Leeside with distinction after he was selected in the 41-man squad by Warren Gatland, though fellow Reds ace from Cork Simon Zebo missed out.

Conor Murray and CJ Stander are the other Munster players to make the cut among 11 Irish players called up.

However, Cork can also lay claim to Tadhg Furlong whose family roots are in Whiddy Island near Bantry. The tighthead prop has been a revelation this season after taking over from Fermoy’s Mike Ross in the Ireland side.

O’Mahony was unlucky not to make Gatland’s squad for the last Lions tour and it looked like his hamstring injury at the start of the Six Nations could have extinguished his chances again. His form has been exceptional in recent weeks though and the Munster captain offers versatility in the back-row as well as leadership qualities.

O’Mahony, since his days in PBC, has been a born leader and will thrive in New Zealand. The back-rower who has played 88 times for Munster and 40 for his country will lead Munster into their European Champions Cup semi-final with an added pep in his step after seeing off competition from the England and Scottish back-row to get on the plane for New Zealand.

Munster are in action this Saturday at the Aviva Stadium in the Champions Cup semi against Saracens, 3pm, and the holders from England have five Lions in their ranks. The Reds are underdogs, especially with Conor Murray likely to miss out through injury.

The Irish players in the squad are: Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony.

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