We need to talk about POM

The WoC equivalent of Godwin’s Law involves a certain divisive backrow forward from Cork – whatever we post on, it’s virtually inevitable that the comments box will descend into a debate about Peter O’Mahony. While his defenders saw him as a skillful and athletic lineout forward, his detractors saw an argument-fond workshy show pony. We considered him an excellent lineout merchant, a good open field runner with skilful hands who clearly offers leadership possiblities, but one whose tackling is poor and desire for snarling too high – if he met his potential he could be be Ireland’s Tom Croft or Imanol Harinordoquoy, and if not, our Jonathan Thomas.

To  further confuse the already-muddied water, his media street team (who were numerous) constantly cited his workrate, bravery and inability to take a backward step. Whatever you think about him, none of those are his strengths. His simply is not David Wallace, no matter what Conor George wanted, and the terms of the debate were just far too fluid to have a sensible conversation about it. And it still persists – Cummiskey in the Irish Times seemed to think he won man of the match in the Wales game for getting into two fights, which, to our eyes, simply didn’t happen.

We talked about his ‘Good Face’ in the past, but it’s now arguable that the ridiculous media narrative around him hs now gone full circle to the point where it almost undersells his ability.  Munster pishun, fighting, bravery?  It’ll get you so far, but what about the jackalling technique and brilliant handling ability?  Those things require, y’know, talent, right?  Credit to the Second Captains for cutting through the BS and jokingly talking about ‘Brand O’Mahony’ and how his ‘entourage’ would be in his ear, telling him to shout out the anthems tunelessly and loudly and to celebrate turnovers as if they were a try to enhance it.

The first two rounds of the Six Nations have marked the true international arrival of Peter O’Mahony, in his 20th and 21st caps. His first couple of seasons on the international scene corresponded with Ireland’s worst run since the 1990s, with the deepening crisis at the tail end of Deccie’s time in charge impacting all areas of the team. His first three starts were in three different positions, and the backrow unit rarely functioned well in the fag-end of the Deccie era. The team was used to the beef and skill of Fez and Wally, and O’Mahony was a completely different player – he wasn’t integrated at all well into the XV and not only did he rarely shine, but Jamie Heaslip’s performances went down a level as roles shifted.

That’s not to say he didn’t have his moments, and there was the odd good day amid the gloom, notably the draw at home to France (of which we performed an in depth analysis and found the backrow all showed up well, each man got through a pile of work, and O’Mahony did best – apart from Steve Walsh *swoon*).  It’s worth remembering that in that game Peter O’Mahony’s standout contributions were a couple of brilliant ruck turnovers as opposed to big runs in wide channels.  Sound familiar?  But it’s hard for anyone, let alone a rookie backrow only learning the international game, to look consistently good when the team is going nowhere and doesn’t look like it knows what it’s doing.

With the arrival of the Milky Bar Kid, O’Mahony has now a defined place in the team – positioned much closer to rucks, his breakdown work has formed the platform of Ireland’s success. He carries much less, and still isn’t a great tackler in either frequency or impact (he has notoriously never reached double figures in a test, but we don’t think this is as important as it is sometimes made out to be – in this Championship, he has kept pace with Henry and Heaslip’s numbers, which will do us). He has been simply brilliant, probably our best player, and has stepped into a lieutenant role in the team.  As captain for Munster this year, he has improved on the field in both play and conduct and it seems to bring out the best in him.

Equally noticable was his discipline – the shirt-grabbing rabble-rouser has been replaced by a focused and cold-eyed professional. Wales continually tried to rile him on Saturday but he never wavered once, concentrating instead on winning the game. He seemed .. coached .. odd as it might sound. The only moment when the old O’Mahony resurfaced was when he almost talked himself into a sin-binning when Barnes had asumed his punctilious hat.  [O’Connell was off the pitch at this point, with Heaslip assuming captaincy duties, and he probably should have smelt the danger and made himself present at the little chat and gagged O’Mahony.]  Twelve months ago, we still thought his place in the team was in question, but right now he should be forming the backbone of our team through to RWC19. Heck, even Leinsterlion has conceded that he’s at least average.  The backrow unit has improved beyond all recognition, yet its best player, possibly best two players, are out injured.

The game in Twickenham represents another great opportunity for O’Mahony to do his feet-planted-in-the-ground-bent-over-the-ball thing, as England lack a dedicated fetcher and rely on two six-and-a-halves in Robshaw and Wood to divvy up breakdown duties.  He’ll need to watch out for Dan Cole, though, who is a hell of a clearer-outer.  The rangy No.6 being dragged up from the ruck while the referee’s arm lifts to the sky in Ireland’s direction is fast becoming our favourite sight of the Six Nations.

And did you know this little discussed fact: he once played on the wing in an AIL final.  Fancy that!

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67 Comments

  1. Yossarian

     /  February 13, 2014

    Lovely summary of all my feelings about him!the media love in forced the internet to try and balance the plaudits he was receiving and probably prompted the criticism.(no one really wants to criticise an up and comer earning his early caps)
    The last big question is can he do it against the big packs, he did it against France last year, if he can do it against England in Twickenham he can look at being a Lions tourist in NZ.

    • Yossarian

       /  February 13, 2014

      *should have said consistently, has done it against France and NZ and looking good to do it against England.

      • Joe

         /  February 14, 2014

        Jaysus, it’s bad enough when we talk about the Lions for the entire season when it’s only a year away, maybe hold off on mentioning the NZ tour for another few years… 🙂

  2. Andrew

     /  February 13, 2014

    My only grip about POM is his Munster Media Mafia, having to listen to them talk him up constantly you would wonder would Henry, McLoughlin and Ruddock have so few caps if the MMM were doing their clear sighted analysis for these three players.
    He is a good young player learning to play six and as with most players Schmidt is making him a better one.

    • seiko

       /  February 13, 2014

      It has helped to have Richie McCaw’s & Kieran Read’s former coach for the last two years (Read credits Penney as the most influential coach he has had).

      Schmidt is a back’s coach.

  3. seiko

     /  February 13, 2014

    It was Paul O’Connell who compared him to Wally:
    Quote: ”Then came the ultimate comparison for any man carved out of Munster granite. “He is a little bit like a David Wallace, he’s a very powerful guy, and it has taken a small bit of time to accumulate the fitness levels required. Those powerful guys it takes them a little bit longer than the likes of myself!”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/peter-o-mahony-s-display-earns-lavish-praise-from-paul-o-connell-1.1685278

    • kevin

       /  February 13, 2014

      I think we can all say that he’s absolutely nothing like David Wallace! In fairness O’Connell is hardly going to say ‘well he’s got great lineout skills and breakdown work but he’s only an average carrier’ (the truth). But fair play on a great article lads, I think ye summarised the whole situation very well. He epitomises Ireland’s transformation under Joe, and long may these performances continue. Great point re our backrow being way more effective despite the loss of our 2 best players!

      • seiko

         /  February 13, 2014

        Shane Horgan brought up about POM’s great strength in his post match analysis (so the Leinster boys must be discussing what he is doing in the gym). There are lots of very good players POC could compare him to like Quinny (also decent in those facits of the game you mention), and playing in the same position mainly, but he said David Wallace.

        I think POC coming back* in has probably balanced out the loss of SOB (and it helps that Donnacha Ryan isn’t playing carrying a shoulder injury). The most effective weapon has been the rolling maul from the lineout.

        *Missing him against Scotland wasn’t really a big deal.

    • Bueller

       /  February 13, 2014

      Wally got left out of the Irish squad (and Munster squad) for years due to peoples inability to recognise raw talent and constantly looking for ‘the traditional 7’. We ended up with a few seasons of Keith Gleeson ( a great player but I think everyone could admit limited in the extreme) instead of a 7 with pace and power who proved to be one of our best 7s ever. I am glad Kidney and Schmidt havent gone down the rout e of ‘conventional wisdom’ on POM as he is not a conventional 6 but he has that extra bi tin him that can swing games. For the record if Fez and SOB were fit POM would definitely be on the bech in my opinion and we would have the second best bac-row in world rugby with an exceptional replacement to bring on if needed (across all 3 positions).

      • Leinsterlion

         /  February 13, 2014

        Gleeson was a better 7 then Wallace every day of the Week, Wallace was a world class blindside and potentially could have been a world class 8. A monster of a player, an utter physical beast, world class 7? No.

        • Aye aye aye, Wally was amazing at 7. World class by any measure, from 2005-2011 anyay, he had a patchy career up until he turned 30, strangely. We’ve been over this before, but there are different ways to set up a backrow and not every 7 has to look and play like Justin Tipuric to be good in the role. Part of Wallace’s job was covering the 10 channel to protect O’Gara. How many times did teams target that channel only to find the handsome brute waiting for them to pin them back 10m?

          • osheaf01

             /  February 13, 2014

            We’ve already had a previous lesson from I-forget-who to LeinsterLion on the ways to set up a backrow, but I suppose his prejudices are impervious to displacement.

          • Leinsterlion

             /  February 13, 2014

            I’m not saying Gleeson was a better rugby player, just Wally was our best 6/8 and Glesson was a better option at 7. Keith Gleeson was never close to world class, but he didnt need to be.

        • ruckinhell

           /  February 13, 2014

          LL- Yes, a world class 7. Wallace was an absolutely top class openside and only ever played 8 when injuries ruled out the usual 8 man. He in fact rarely played 6 at any stage in his career. He wasn’t an out in out linker or fetcher but was by no means deficient in either of these areas. I always rated Keith Gleeson but he was not in Wally’s league as a player. Just ponder this, George Hook was Gleeson’s biggest fan as a 7 and was always rabbitting on about the need to select him over Wally. George. Hook. You’re in exalted company mate!

          That being said, I don’t even know why I bother engaging LL at this stage. You are the WoC equivalent of the Munsterfans loons who still dismiss Heaslip a “lazy knob” and your broken record decrial of POM is getting rather comical at this stage.

          • Leinsterlion

             /  February 13, 2014

            Yeah we played that wonderfully talented player that was Simon Easterby at 6…..great… Wallace was a better player then Gleeson, no arguments from me, but Gleeson was a better openside, end of story, Wally’s game was perfectly suited to paying 8 or 6, but for some bizarre reason he was never picked there. It all comes down to Ireland having muck coaches for what the guts of 12 years? Our utter lack of trophies with the best group of players we have ever had would verify that we weren’t dealing with the Graham Henry calibre of coaching, the 2000’s was a lost decade of Irish rugby in comparison to its talent level. No nation with world class clubs should be that crap at international level.

          • Ah Leinsterlion, have a lie down. You must be exhausted by now; the rest of us certainly are.

          • And Wally played *twelve* when forced to by injury .. Swoon.

          • I thought he played wing during an injury crisis (wait, I’m not actually trolling here) and Leamy played 12?

          • I think Wallace played both at 12 and on the wing at different stages, actually. Were it not for that horrific injury he got against England in the World Cup warm-up games, he could still be playing, apparently he was in phenomenal shape and could have kept going. A shame…

            And to LL, I note that Ian McGeechan also played him at 7 in two Lions tests against South Africa, not a coach shy about playing a “traditional 7”, as Budge Pountney would doubtless attest.

  4. connachtexile

     /  February 13, 2014

    I was one of the people who criticised him at the time and I stand by it. I rate him very highly now and he is a tremendous player and in some ways he was very unlucky. The Cork Con Mafia of Hook, Sheehan and Lenihan started touting him as the second coming and then DK’s obvious provincial bias bringing him into the squad when he was still quite raw and could have done with another few months learning his trade at Munster before coming into the Ireland team. It made him an obvious target not helped by some average performances and stupid faux-hardman stuff. That he was a favourite of DK and a poster boy of two of the stupidest most ignorant commentators in Irish Rugby Pundity was also a factor for people’s ire.

    • seiko

       /  February 13, 2014

      How do you explain Kiss making him Ireland captain at 23 years of age then (with Schmidt looking over his shoulder) on the summer tour last summer and overlooking the likes of Chris Henry.

      Anyway, would Kidney be influenced by the Cork Con mafia? He is a Dolphin man after all and they have their own rivaleries.

      Just for the record, POM has 3 yellow cards in his career todate (and has never been carded at international level).

      By the way, maybe those ‘most ignorant commentators’ weren’t so far off the mark then if they were picking him out at an early age!

      • connachtexile

         /  February 13, 2014

        ‘How do you explain Kiss making him Ireland captain at 23 years of age then (with Schmidt looking over his shoulder) on the summer tour last summer and overlooking the likes of Chris Henry.’ – Um because he wasn’t raw anymore?

        Anyway, would Kidney be influenced by the Cork Con mafia? He is a Dolphin man after all and they have their own rivaleries. – Then how do you explain DOC (a Cork Con player) who played like complete muck a season or two ago still making the first Irish XV? Dk might have a Dolphin bias but his Munster bias was bigger.

        Just for the record, POM has 3 yellow cards in his career todate (and has never been carded at international level). – I never criticised his discipline I criticised his stupid hardman routine which I found to be utterly pointless.

        By the way, maybe those ‘most ignorant commentators’ weren’t so far off the mark then if they were picking him out at an early age! – Never said he didn’t have potential or talent but I did say he was brought in too raw and needed more time to accrue experience before being brought into the Irish Squad.

        P.S. You should really try and read what people write without your Munster goggles on you’ll find it a whole different world!

    • Bueller

       /  February 13, 2014

      Maybe you just couldn’t recognise a talented player from the outset and needed popular opinion to change before you could sway your opinion the opposite direction? Just a possibility. At least leinsterlion called him out with a reasoned debate? Not just ‘some lads from Cork like him so I will extra dislike him’. Have people ever stopped to consider why there might be such a thing as the Cork Con Mafia (or the Munster Media Mafia) ? Possibly something to do with them (along with Shannon) dominating Irish club rugby for the best part of 3 decades….I mean Lenihan and Sheahan what could they know about rugby? They never achieved anything. (I will conceed that Hook is beyond reason and Frankie isnt the sharpest tool).

    • The Cork Con Mafia are really annoying and we get riled by them as much as anyone, but the important thing is to try and remain objective and not let them drag you down to their level. We’re all passionate about the game, we all support our provinces fervently, and we all have leanings to and against particular players because of that. It can’t be helped. O’Mahony became a vehicle for the Munster Meeja to become over-excited at a time when their star was waning and it has led to any number of cringe-inducing puff pieces and tiresome promotion from his publicity-hungry agent. I find it entirely understandable that those from other provinces would need to be won over in the face of such parochial hype.

      He also became a symbol of Kidney’s selection policy where – rightly or wrongly – Munster players were perceived as being promoted more quickly than those from other provinces. He was selected to play out of position at openside with minimal experience of the position at a time when Chris Henry was enjoying a period of great form for Ulster. Munster bias? Probably not, and at the end of the day, who really knows, but however you slice it up he was the benfactor of what looked a dodgy selection.

      We too have criticised him in the past, and we also stand over that criticism (while at the same time we recognised his ability), but we should all be delighted that he’s now playing so well.

      • connachtexile

         /  February 13, 2014

        You took the words out of my mouth WoC. I would also like to state that the word ‘raw’ means ‘inexperienced or not the finished article’ outside of Munster, not ‘crap’ as it seems to mean to guys like Seiko and Bueller. I never said he was crap just inexperienced and if you read my piece you’ll see I rate him highly now but I thought him being brought in when he was by Kidney and jumped ahead of more experienced players was ridiculous and I still do. That your carping about a player that has finally come good after 20 something caps isn’t something you should be shouting to loudly about either.

        P.S. I’d write more about the Cork Con Mafia but it would end up being a 5,000 word essay.

        • Bueller

           /  February 13, 2014

          The point is he was good form his first cap and not his 20th. If people want to let a resentment towards Munster rugby or the media dictate their opinions of international players then so be it…but its naive to state his selection was one of DKs fictional ‘provincial bias’. That is what I took issue with not him being ‘raw’…by definition you cant be an experienced international on your first cap!

          • connachtexile

             /  February 13, 2014

            We’ll have to agree to disagree Bueller

          • There’s a bit of a desire among some Munster fans to try to re-write history and convince everyone who was sceptical that O’Mahony was as good as he is now when he first got into the team, in an effort to say ‘I told you so’. According to one commentater on the score, where the article is reproduced, he ‘had world class stamped on him from day one.’ Steady up!

          • Bueller

             /  February 13, 2014

            It was said at the time but that was also dismissed as Munster fans ‘over-hyping’ him. For his controversial selections who were the viable alternatives? Kevin McLaughlin/Rhys Ruddock at 6 or Chris Henry/Shane Jennings at 7? All are good players but none (maybe barring Ruddock who couldn’t get his game provincially) had in any way similar potential. Chris Henry is a fantastic player but has certainly never lit the world up playing for Ireland (and I didn’t see swarms of abuse directed at him – even by us thick headed Munster fans). What riled me up was that people chalked it down to a conspiracy of Munster people in the media or the coaching staff or the IRFU…..its ridiculous.

          • Don’t be too generous Bueller, Ruddock has only actually started looking good at professional rugby this season. O’Mahony (deservedly) won man of the match in his first Heineken Cup match in 2011.

            I suspect part of the reason Leinster fans in particular didn’t rate O’Mahony is because they don’t watch many Munster games. I’d be the first to say he has gaps in his game, and has had from day one, but it was always abundantly clear that he was a good player with a very high ceiling. That is not something the commenters of this blog would have agreed with even at the end of last season, what with their (and WoC’s, at times) genuinely bizarre obsession with the so-called “faux hard-man act” and the constant sniping about POM spending all his time “seagulling on the wing”. To them I would say, eh, if you actually watched a representative sample of Munster games, you’d realise he doesn’t usually spend time on the wing, nor does he have any discipline problems of note, so I feel reasonably safe in ignoring your opinion.

          • It now seems the hanging out on the wing was under instruction – he doesn’t do it for Munster and nor does he do it for Ireland any more

          • Yeah, that was always my working assumption. Delighted it’s stopped, it truly was infuriating.

  5. Leinsterlion

     /  February 13, 2014

    At the risk of repeating myself, until he fills in the holes in his game needed to play six, he isnt a long term option at 6. He(and Heaslip in fairness) isnt having to do a whole lot on the ball due to Schmidts tactics, can he up his game, bring in big hits and carries(we know Heaslip can), can POM? IMO he’s not big enough to be a 6, end of story, line out work is great if you are planning on 29 line outs a game, but that is a cancerous stat for any rugby lover, and ball carrying is more important then lineout work if you plan on playing with ball in hand.
    Look at all the world class blindsides over the years, then compare POM’s game to theirs and tell me the guy is world class, its an utter joke, the media and POM’s cheerleaders are doing him a disservice by coming up with ridiculous stuff like that, I mean the guy is getting more hype then SOB, with less on his CV, its bizzare.
    WOC you are being too kind, he was close to dire, anonymous under Kidney, passable in the French game(Picamoles was the real MOM in that game) and his tackle count(while barely acceptable under Schmidt) has long been a joke for an international backrow, 3 tackles in one game was it?
    In fairness, he has improved for Munster and Ireland, but as Eamon Dunphy would say, “He’s a good player, not a great player”. He needs to improve his tackle count, improve his tackle technique, improve his ball carrying, improve his physique(eg get bigger), other then that he will do until SOB comes back or Ferris finally gets his body right.

    • Bueller

       /  February 13, 2014

      “He’s a good player, not a great player” is perfectly fair. Come on though the ‘tullow tank’ got more articles than the Irish Constitiution when he first came around (and Im pretty sure there is no Carlow Mafia). I can remember the photos of him hugging cattle plastered everywhere. POM isn’t he best 6 in the world and not even in Ireland when Ferris is fit but he is class and has never played badly for Ireland in spite of your one eyed views. Not every player has to be the classic XY or Z to be considered for a position. 6’s don’t all have to be bohemoths. We don’t have to play the ‘classic game’ to win or even be ‘attractive’. Your attitude towards rugby basically seems to be that every player should perform their role in a very specific manor but we should attack all the time and run it at all costs throwing the ball around like Carlos Spencer, yet there would be no-one in the position to pass to as they would all be off playing their extremely narrow role in the leinsterlion game plan.

    • There are some decent points in there Leinsterlion. Nobody has said anything about world class, and I take your point on Ireland not having showed much with ball in hand.

      The forwards didn’t carry mcuh ball against Wales, but if Ireland do plan on putting the ball through the hands against England, which everyone seems to think they have to, they will need the pack to give them front foot ball, so it’ll be interesting to see how O’Mahony and Heaslip are deployed and how they get on.

      I prefer to judge players on what has happened rather than what they will or won’t be able to do in the next game, though, so let’s reconvene after the England game for an assessment!

    • I don’t get this “must get bigger” view – there’s actually very little to to choose between Heaslip / O’Brien / Henry and O’Mahony in terms of height & weight – they are within a couple of kilos and cms of each other. Sure, Ferris is a full stone heavier – but Fez is exceptional! And injured, sadly.

      POM’s almost precisely the same height and weight as Richard Hill (in his pomp), who was one of the best 6s in world rugby, with over 70 England caps, 5 Lions caps and a WC winners medal. Has rugby moved on so much in the last 10 years that this physique is now considered inadequate?

  6. curates_egg

     /  February 13, 2014

    O’Mahony is a class player and had a great season last season for Munster but suffered from being part of a totally unbalanced and poorly-deployed Ireland backrow. The faux-eulogising of this in the media was grating, as was the unwillingness to call Kidney out. That is essentially all you are saying.

    It is a fair and balanced piece, which makes the response from the myopic mafiosi all the more depressing. Those chips are sadly wedged painfully far into Corkonian shoulders and the Munster-dominated Dublin meeja has to bear responsibility for hammering those chips so far in.

    It is early days but it is great seeing O’Mahony and other players performing to their potentials for the national side finally. Long may it continue.

  7. Scrumdog

     /  February 13, 2014

    Schmidt -Plumtree have apparently readjusted O’Mahony’s game at international level for now and play him to his strengths to increase his overall contribution. Long may he secure ball for Ireland on the deck and out of touch, we all want the the lads to win.

    Every dog has his day and it looks like POM’s has arrived.
    When he is no longer effective winning ball at the tackle area (as other teams learn how to nullify the ‘POM Effect’) and is targeted for clean out and some ‘treatment’, (Hartly, Lawes and Coles next up) he will need to increase his tackle count exponentially around the field or if not he will be subbed out.

    It’s been ‘hyped’ that O’Mahony should play at 7 or 8 but that’s never going to happen….. unless his tackling count increases along with intensity of impact and carrying skills. Its difficult to believe that any back row player could have made it to test level rugby with such low tackle numbers, but that will be improved upon… no doubt. We wish him only the best while wearing the green jersey.

    Another blindside player to watch for is Ruddock and the return of a fella called ‘Fez’!

  8. Yossarian

     /  February 13, 2014

    Interesting point that he might be targeted at the breakdown. My worst fear is he isn’t up to a physical challenge around the breakdown and that the big forwards like robshaw,wood,lawes and launchbury are too much for him physically to do what he has been doing. His stats online sound somewhat inflated.(I don’t buy he is the same weight as SOB) I hope I am wrong because if I am right we won’t win in twickenham.

    • Jimbob

       /  February 13, 2014

      Bit of a knee jerk there. While POM has been excellent so far, he’s not quite the fulcrum of the team just yet. If he’s nullified in his current guise then I assume that JS will have some sort of plan B, C or D. England will also have to deal with the breakdown talents of Healy, Best, Henry, Heaslip, BOD and D’arcy(if playing).

  9. Cian

     /  February 13, 2014

    Good article. At the end of the day the small differences between most of our opinions on players here tend to get amplified, and I think (almost) everyone can agree that POM always had talent and potential, was over hyped to a degree, didn’t set the world on fire for Ireland in the previous two seasons, and is playing excellently now. Personally the backlash against him during his early days with Ireland annoyed me more than the hype, because I know Hook and Frankie don’t have a clue but I expect a higher standard of discussion on here.

    Leinsterlion, I can’t believe that you’re still on this “traditional 7” nonsense after someone, possibly Ruckinhell or Thoughtless, comprehensively dismantled the idea that all (or even most) great teams divide back row duties according to your notions. 8s have to have ball control at the back of the scrum, other duties can be divided whatever way people want. It completely derails the debate for you to claim Wally wasn’t a world class 7. He played at 7, he was brilliant, he did everything asked of him, that’s it.

  10. Don

     /  February 13, 2014

    Called it a long time ago that his best position is 7. He wears a 6, but that’s a 7’s game the lad is playing.
    Remembering what I said before, I am delighted he has played so well so far and has been a joy to watch. Long may it continue.
    But he still needs to tackle some more (It is important WoC, even wingers need to do it) and despite his media profile (TOTALLY not his fault) he is still not the second coming of Christ.

    I would be interested to hear what other folks think would/will happen if/when Ferris and O’Brien were both fit. Where would he fit in? Or would he?

    • Jojo

       /  February 13, 2014

      He’d be benched no question

    • Scrumdog

       /  February 13, 2014

      He is playing a crucial but ‘part role’ of an openside and is a good lineout option. Now, if I have it correctly, POM is focused on being first to the ‘defensive’ breakdown and assigned to jackle after the tackle (tackler rolls away) has been made by someone else and that has worked against Scotland and more against Wales.

      Very true that Ireland have several ball winners at the breakdown but O’Mahony has been placed ‘front and center’ for the previous two games ‘after the tackle’ so it will be interesting to see what Joe S. has up his sleeve for the England game. I tend to think POM, will be targeted, and would have to produce more in other areas at Twickers such as broken field ‘stop them in their tracks’ tackling on very large players which may indicate a change in personnel (horses-for-courses) for the ‘starting’ back row for this game as tackling and ball carries will be to the forefront in what’s expected to be a very physical game of attrition. Interesting to see what the coaches will come up with.

      Ferris,Heaslip,O’Brien were and will hopefully reunite as a world class unit. SOB has adapted better to playing at seven now than previously, which would now give Ireland a big and balanced ball carrying backrow of tacklers. I think O’Mahony would be on the bench with this backrow available. Ruddock and Henderson are also on the rise.

  11. Jojo

     /  February 13, 2014

    Must admit I’ve always been a bit critic of him and you’ve covered most my feelings. Correct me if I’m wrong but he doesn’t usually win much ball on the deck. That was the first match I’ve ever really see him do That.. In which case all this praise maybe a bit premature. Pretty sure he gave away two penalties too. If Henry does this it’s high lighted by the medja.

  12. IgnatiusLynch

     /  February 13, 2014

    Seems to be lots of good points here (as well as strange bitterness!). I think that the pishun factor can be a little bit over-hyped by some and a little bit underestimated by others. Obviously if POM doesn’t add stuff to his amateur-era-toughman routine, he won’t be effective. And some people do go mad over-praising it.

    Having said that, to those who think that the aggression stuff is useless and silly, I would say that it’s not worthless. The ‘X-factor’ as some call it which guys like Clohessy or Galwey had – i.e. ‘if we’ve the Claw on the field, we’ve no reason to take a step back’. BOD has a similar effect (he was getting up in the faces of the Boks in 2009, in particular) which can be obscured by the fact that he’s bloody well BOD!

    So I’d say: POM’s rabble-rousing persona shouldn’t be dismissed… even if certain quarters prefer fists to subtle hands etc.

    P.S. I’d imagine the mere mention of Claw and Gaillimh will piss off those who are sick of the Munster nonsense/glory! Apologies if it does!

    • Scrumdog

       /  February 13, 2014

      Today, with those two and the camera replays, Ireland would be playing with 13 men !

  13. Len

     /  February 13, 2014

    I freely admit that this time last year I was not a fan. I thought he was too light to play 6, to addicted to hanging out in the backs and the hold me back act grated. I couldn’t see what Gobels and the rest of the media were banging on about. Then came the summer tour. The way he handled himself in the game against the US had me sit up and take notice. His performance at 8 was good and solid but the ease with which he handled the ref interaction was brilliant unlike Todd cleaver who seemed to think his nose should be touching the refs every time they spoke. His game play has improved at six ever since. Don’t get me wrong he’s far from the complete six and may well be more of a seven but only time will tell. One thing JS does really well is develop players like POM. Two seasons ago Madigan couldn’t place kick worth a damn and it seemed to be hampering his development, JS solution take kicking duties away and have him concentrate on his strong points until those are second nature and he can then tackle the rest. I think he’s doing the same with POM at the minute.

  14. abitofshoepie

     /  February 13, 2014

    He has played very well and is a very good player, but a bit of realism is required….Ireland are very well endowed in the back row department (and wing…). IMO he wouldn’t even make the bench if all were fit. Great for Ireland to have such depth, but the circus around him at the moment is a bit OTT. Plus he’s ‘unlikeable’ (bad face) to Joe rugby fan and opponent alike, even though he’s probably a great guy in person and clearly loves the anthems. His mouthing to Barnes on sat deserved a yellow and I can’t help feel the English and French will have taken note. Irish Chris Ashton, all mouth until Tuilagi comes along?

    • What’s all this about the backrow being well-endowed? I know POM is a bit of a media darling but this is really going over the top now.

      • Joe

         /  February 14, 2014

        His “mouthing” at Barnes?!? Come on, that was Barnes being Barnes, i.e. a pedantic school-teacher like ref.

        • abitofshoepie

           /  February 14, 2014

          Barnes is pedantic…..that’s why only daft players choose to wind him up!

  15. Bob

     /  February 14, 2014

    Ferris = 28
    Henry = 29
    O’Brien = 27
    O’Mahony = 24

    My point being is if he continues to develop the way he is going, what will he be like when he is 27. He is still a young player in comparison to other players being put forward as 1st choice selections. Fingers crossed he can continue this development.

    Additionally, do no include Cork Con and Munster in the same sentence. Cork Con do not reflect the majority of munster fans, they are a disease on society and should be eradicated slowly and painfully.

    • He’s a very different body shape to Ferris and O’Brien, who were pretty much as beastly at 24 as they are at 28, or whatever. O’Brien did improve his reading of the game hugely in the last two seasons, and that’s vry much what O’Mahony looks to be bringing to his game this year, that maybe wasn’t there in the past. Even when we criticised him in the past, we always recognised that he had a potentially high ceiling, because he is a natural footballer, a bit like Jamie Heaslip; very comfortable giving and taking a pass.

  16. Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Lots of intresting stuff, even if we don’t all agree. Over on thescore.ie, where our article was reproduced the comments section was hijacked by loopers on whom any nuance or grey area appears to have been totally lost, so it’s nice that we can keep the tone up over here!

    And of course, it’s nice that we can still be surprised in life. We did not expect to ever get into an argument over whether or not David Wallace was any good; we were pretty sure the dust had settled on that one.

    • Refreshing debate folks as always, I couldn’t resist and had a peak over at The Score..’OH The Horror the Horror….’

    • abitofshoepie

       /  February 14, 2014

      The Score has some great rugby articles, Murray Kinsella’s especially, but yes some of the comments are of the moronic tribal soccerball vintage

  17. red*razors

     /  February 14, 2014

    just a quick note on body size – does nobody remember a few years back when leigh halfpenny was being poohpoohed by all and sundry for being too small? it’s not an insurmountable problem.

  18. Len

     /  February 14, 2014

    Had a look at the score. Wow! That’s one of the downsides to the comments section on the score, while there are some good comments in each article the vast majority are polarised provincially biased dross.

  19. Premier Warrior

     /  February 14, 2014

    Lads, ye got it wrong on O’Mahony, simple as. Anyone watching him from schools up into the club game (the AIL, you may have heard of it? Try going to a game some time) knew he was a going to make it to the top, the rest has just been an adjustment process. Why do you think so many coaches have always picked him? This is yet another example where sitting behind TV and computer screens without any hands-on involvement leaves glaring holes in analysis.
    O’Mahony has not suddenly ‘come good’, he is fulfilling a career path that was always likely to happen and, instead of subjecting us to another long-winded, overwrought bout of needy self-justification, why not type four simple words: We got it wrong.

    • It seems there is some misconception that we said Peter O’Mahony was rubbish and would never make it. I don’t know where this has come from. While we were always a little sanguine in the face of major, major hype, we always recognised his ability and potential.

      Check out the articles under the Peter O’Mahony category and show me where the bit where we said he was useless is.

      https://whiffofcordite.com/category/peter-omahony/

      We criticised his workrate in the first two matches of the 2013 Six Nations, when he was spending a lot of time in wide channels and Ireland were playing really badly; we stand by it. We followed that up with a play-by-play analysis against France to try and better understand what was going on. He played really well in that match and we said as much.

      Here’s a quote from our blog from over two years ago, back in January 2012:

      We are big POM fans, but we didn’t agree with the hyperbole. Cue Sunday, and a breath-takingly good performance from the man himself and, while we don’t want to declare him the greatest player in world rugby just yet, we’re pretty sure he looks the real deal.

      Maybe read the articles before coming online and making snide accusations about sitting behind keyboards.

    • Warrior your seeing it one-eyed and talking bollox. WOC tries to be balanced and thats the point, combined with humility and a sense of humour it’s an exceptional blog, keep on truckin lads.

    • Paddy

       /  February 14, 2014

      “Lads, ye got it wrong on O’Mahony, simple as. Anyone watching him from schools up into the club game (the AIL, you may have heard of it? Try going to a game some time) knew he was a going to make it to the top, the rest has just been an adjustment process. Why do you think so many coaches have always picked him? ”

      See the thing is you could say the same thing about a lot of players. Like Rhy Ruddock for example who has captained teams all the through the age groups and as it happens also plays 6. They’re different players on the pitch but are similar in background and qualities in some ways. Ruddock isn’t at the same level as POM now, I think the fact he’s been around for so long makes people think he should be further a long. He might not ever get to be a regular at test level but he’s been making progress and when/if he gets his chance the same questions about his performance will be asked.

      To some extent the questions about POM have always been is he as good as Ferris and to a lesser extent SOB. 2 players that all fans have a massive man love for. And the answer up until recently have been a simple no!

  20. seiko

     /  February 17, 2014

    Well guys, looks like Joe has sorted the Cork Con mafia out. A fit Simon Zebo can’t make a 33 man squad now.

    • You know what we think of that one … and we suspect there is more than meets the eye there – its just too hard to credit otherwise

      • seiko

         /  February 17, 2014

        Penney has been very outspoken as to what the problem is – he referred to Kiwis like ”to chop the head off tall poppys” – something we Irish like to do as well.

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