MUNSTER winger Ronan O’Mahony believes the fierce competition for places within the squad is driving players on to reach the next level.
O’Mahony celebrated signing a new two-year contract with Munster by bagging a second half try in the province’s exciting victory over Cardiff Blues at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
Twenty five-year-old O’Mahony says it is vital that players make the most of any opportunity they get to impress in the side.
O’Mahony said: “I suppose it’s like everything in life when you get your opportunity you’ve got to grab it with both hands and I was trying to do that against Cardiff to the best of my ability. There’s bundles of talent on the wing for Munster. The senior lads and that Academy lads coming through. There’s so much talent and such a competitive environment, we’re always driving each other on and it brings out the best in us.
“We had been harping on all week about go-forward ball and we played off that (against Cardiff). We played with pace on the ball and I think we did that excellently at times. You know when a team are on the back foot you’ve got to keep hammering them and keep going forward.
Asked where his speed came from, former Castletroy College student O’Mahony said: “Running away from Barry (brother), down the street when we were younger. I suppose it’s something we’re always working on. The back three have got to be quick or you’re out of the game.
“We’ve got to hold on to our pace and it’s such a competitive environment we’re always doing extras and driving each other on, so it’s going well.”
Second-placed Munster travel to Parc y Scarlets next Saturday (2.40pm) to face the Scarlets in another crucial Guinness PRO12 fixture.
Limerickman O’Mahony says the return of Keith Earls to full fitness and competitive action in recent weeks has provided a major boost to the backline.
O’Mahony said: “(Keith Earls) Earlsie is a different class. Even his presence on a field is incredible. The chat out of him, just his whole presence in general is unbelievable. Defensively he is such a leader as well. Even for Ireland, you’ve seen him produce the goods so many times even to have him back in the squad it was a real comfort to have him there in attack and defence.”
O’Mahony said the penning of a new two-year deal, which will see the Garryowen clubman remain at Munster until the summer of 2017 at least, is a big boost to his career.
“I’m happy with that. It just allows me to sit down and focus on my game I suppose for the next two years to try to develop. There’s an unbelievable coaching staff there with Axel (Anthony Foley), Fla (Jerry Flannery), Squeaks (Brian Walsh) and Ian Costelloe. There’s great balance of lads there. They’re guys who can bring your game to the next level and really looking forward to the challenge.”