Peter O’Mahony spoke about the importance of maintaining a balance between family life and rugby with Off The Ball’s Adrian Barry and Alan Quinlan as part of our series with Dove Men + Care.
O’Mahony is currently training with the Ireland squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and looked back on the start of his career with Munster and Ireland.
Quinlan and O’Mahony didn’t spend much time playing together but the current Munster captain will never forget the role Quinlan played in his first appearance.
“I got my first cap when Quinny came off and I came on. We played Ulster in Ravenhill. Quinny was just about to be yellow carded I think, so they hauled him off and stuck me on,” O’Mahony joked.
He then went on to earn his first cap for Ireland in 2012 against Italy, but one of the things that sticks out most to him was the pressure he felt leading up to the game.
“International rugby is pretty much about being uncomfortable. It’s just so difficult. I don’t think it’s got any easier, even from the first one.
“The stress levels are a different level again when it comes to international rugby. It certainly hasn’t gotten any easier. Nerves and pressure.
“I remember meeting my auld fella before a game at the Shelbourne and I was sick with nerves, like white as a sheet. I was in a bad place,” O’Mahony said.
While being an international rugby player certainly isn’t easy, the back-rower doesn’t rank it as the toughest role he plays in his life.
“The toughest is definitely the smallies in the house. It’s definitely the most important obviously.
“It's certainly easier for me because I’m not as hands-on as Jess [his wife], but even when I come back it’s definitely the hardest thing. But it’s definitely the most rewarding thing at the same time,” O’Mahony commented.
The Munster man loves being able to mix the two sides of his life, and relishes being able to bring his daughter into the dressing room.
“I’ve really enjoyed having India in the dressing room after games, whether she remembered it or not.
"Hopefully, I’ll be around for a few more years to keep bringing her into some special dressing rooms. That’s my favourite part of rugby, bar touring, being in a dressing room after a big win,” O’Mahony said.
For now, O’Mahony’s attention will be fixed firmly on the World Cup, set to kick off in just under a month’s time, but he is in no doubt about what’s really important in life.
In the first of our #OneToughJob series with Dove Men + Care, we caught up with Peter O’Mahony about the dual role he plays – being a dad and one of Ireland’s greats. Stay tuned for the other two parts in our series as we find out how some of the country’s most celebrated professionals manage to Care For Every Position. – Part 2 will be with Andrew Porter and his dad Ernie.