For Peter O’Mahony, the main thing, as he explains, is that he is back on the pitch training with his teammates after three months where the world was turned upside down due to the onset of COVID-19.
O’Mahony and his Munster teammates are in their second week of preseason training with the goal being a showdown with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on the weekend of the 22/23 August which will begin the process of finishing of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season.
Since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where O’Mahony suffered a devastating knee injury, the Cork man has been relatively injury-free, a remarkable run which has seen him avoid any significant long-term stints on the sidelines.
Summer tours, Six Nations, a British and Irish Lions tour and a World Cup; it has been a pretty hectic four years and therefore, the last few months have been an opportune time to let the body recover.
“Yeah, I think it was great,” Peter O’Mahony, an ambassador for GreenAware, said this afternoon.
“For someone around my age who, even speaking to a few of the guys who have finished up, I haven’t really had any long-term injury, touch wood, since the 2015 World Cup. So I’ve pretty much as good as played every game since then. It’s been a big workload on my body.
“I probably couldn’t have asked for better timing to have 12 or 13 weeks off from rugby to rejuvenate. Who knows, it might give me another couple of years at the other end of it.”
O’Mahony is always looking for an extra edge and he speaks about having the opportunity in recent weeks to pick the brains of athletes in other sports to see if he can apply lessons to his own preparation in search of that elusive additional 1%.
Reflection on his career to date has also taken place.
Such has been the relentless nature of life as an elite professional rugby player and of course, being a father to two young children, there is not a lot of time to take stock on what he has achieved, the games that he has played in or the opponents he has faced.
Speaking of the latter, Peter O’Mahony recalled some of the toughest players he has come up against throughout his career, and the first thing that springs to mind didn’t take place at such intimidating venues like Eden Park or Stade de France but at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea where the Munster captain was only earning his stripes.
At that time, and in particular the 2009/10 season, the Ospreys were a formidable side. They were unlucky not to reach the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup after suffering a one-point loss to Biarritz in the quarter-final but they did win the Celtic League that year. There were star names littered throughout that squad including a trio of All Blacks; the late Jerry Collins, Filo Tiatia and Marty Holah.
“I was lucky enough to play with a lot of them and to be on the raw end of them at training,” O’Mahony reminisced about some of his former teammates.
“In games, I remember for some reason that Ospreys team when I first started off. They had a back-row of Jerry Collins, [Filo] Tiatia and Marty Holah would have been playing in the back-row as well. I was only probably just out of my teens. It was a nasty enough back-row to be coming up against. Over in Wales, not to mind at home in Thomond Park as well.
“Obviously, the All Blacks, guys like [Richie] McCaw, any of those teams that we came up against are all…Kieran Read was probably the most skilful I’ve come up against whether it was backs or forwards – he’d be well up there as well.”
The remainder of 2020, beginning in August, will be jam-packed with rugby. PRO14, European rugby and Test rugby will all be crammed into every remaining weekend between the end of the summer and Christmas.
Peter O’Mahony is certainly relishing the prospect.
“There’s a lot to come up. If it hasn’t given you the hunger for rugby again, if you had lost that in any way, you’re probably not in the right game if you’re not hungry to get back into rugby now.
“It’s been a long wait and there’s some interesting stuff coming up. Hopefully, we can be involved in as much of it as possible.”
Today, GreenAware ambassador Peter O’Mahony (pictured at his home in Cork) is highlighting how small changes can be made in our day to day lives that make a big impact on the environment as part of the GreenAware #DoBitsHelpLots campaign.
Research from Dunnhumby* shows that the environment continues to be important to consumers even during Covid-19, with sales in compostable bin liners up 75%*. In response to increased consumer need, GreenAware has extended its range of environmentally friendly, 100% compostable bags to encourage sustainable living without compromise.