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Munster statement: Peter O'Mahony steps down as captain

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Long-serving Munster skipper Peter O’Mahony has relinquished the captaincy after more than a decade in the role at the Irish province.

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The 34-year-old, who led the British and Irish Lions in their first Test of the 2017 New Zealand tour, has decided to give up the responsibility just months after leading the club to their first silverware since 2011.

O’Mahony was the Munster captain when they lifted the URC trophy in Cape Town last May and he went on to play an integral part for Andy Farrell’s Ireland at the recent Rugby World Cup, which ended in a quarter-final exit at the hands of the All Blacks.

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The back-rower skippered Munster last Saturday in Limerick in their rematch against the Stormers, but he played just the first half in his sole club appearance so far this season due to a shoulder injury.

The extent of that knock has yet to be confirmed but, in the meantime, O’Mahony has decided to give up the captaincy. A statement read: “Munster Rugby can confirm that Peter O’Mahony has made the decision to step down as squad captain after over 10 years leading the province.

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A post shared by Peter O’Mahony (@peteomahony)

“O’Mahony first captained Munster in a competitive game on September 3, 2011, at the age of 21. It was just his 12th appearance for the province and he led the side for the opening five games of that season. He took over the Munster captaincy on a permanent basis ahead of the 2013/14 season following the departure of Doug Howlett.

“The 2022/23 season was O’Mahony’s 10th year as squad captain and it ended with glory in Cape Town as he lifted the URC title with Keith Earls after a thrilling win over the Stormers.

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“Along with captaining Munster, he has also led Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. Head coach Graham Rowntree and the coaching team will select a new squad captain in due course.”

O’Mahony said: “Captaining Munster has been a dream come true for me. I grew up watching and idolising the Munster team and in particular, the people who were leading the team.

“People like Mick Galwey, Jim Williams then on to the likes of Ronan O’Gara and Paul (O’Connell), who I had the privilege of playing with at the start of my career. I can remember the day I was asked to be captain like it was yesterday and discussing it with Paul to get his approval.

“From that day to this it has been an utter privilege and has never been something I have taken for granted. However, having given a huge amount of thought to it, it is the right time to step back from the role to share my experiences and give the same guidance that I received when I took on the role. What an unbelievable honour it has been… and will always continue to be.”

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Rowntree added: “You couldn’t pick a better leader than Pete and he has been a fantastic captain for this club. To lead Munster from such a young age and for so many years speaks volumes of his ability as a player on the pitch and a person off it.

“He commands huge respect and will still be a massive leader within the group. To have someone with Pete’s experience on hand to help us with the succession process is invaluable. We have a strong leadership group within the squad and will confirm a new squad captain in due course.”

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