Peter O’Mahony’s post-match comments are what Irish fans needed to hear

As good as it gets.

The memory of the 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final still sits high in the memory of Irish Rugby fans no matter what you say.

It’s no secret that the players, the coaching staff, the fans, and more really believed that last year was finally going to be Ireland’s year. But it just wasn’t to be as the men in green were left heartbroken by New Zealand at the quarter-final stages once again.

Last night marked the first game back for Ireland since that heartbreaking defeat – a huge Six Nations opener against heavyweights France in Marseille. And boy did they do a hell of a job helping fans finally swallow that World Cup pill and get excited about Irish Rugby once again.

An excellent performance from the new man at 10, Jack Crowley, who had the arduous task of taking over a jersey that Johnny Sexton has held for the last decade or so.

Big Joe McCarthy introduced himself to the Test arena with a monstrous man-of-the-match performance, stepping up to fill that enforcer tighthead second-row void that has been a missing piece of the puzzle for Ireland the last few years despite their success.

It also marked the first game of the Peter O’Mahony era, after he was named the new Ireland captain last month, and his first post-match press conference delivered just as the players did on the pitch last night.

“I don’t think it gets any better, really,” the Ireland captain said.

“The stress of the last couple of days, I’d have given all that up for a win, Friday night, first game, Marseille in the Vélodrome.

“I remember as a young fella, watching Ireland teams and hoping we’d hang on in there. It’s a different animal now.”

“Guys like Calvin Nash, Jack [Crowley], big Joe [McCarthy], there were some big performances from guys who were getting an opportunity.

“Joe had some great moments in the game, and just continued to get better and better.”

We all remember those days of Ireland failing to hang on and create history in France. We also still remember that quarter-final defeat last year.

All we can take from last night are positives, but we’re not getting carried away, and neither are O’Mahony and his team.

“We’re not going to get carried away here,” O’Mahony added.

“It was a good performance, which is what you want to start off a campaign like this. We want to get better.”

How many days until the next World Cup?

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