Munster Rugby have confirmed that Peter O’Mahony has made the decision to step down as squad captain after over 10 years leading the province.
O’Mahony first captained Munster in a competitive game on September 3, 2011 at the age of 21. It was just his 12th appearance for the province and he led the team for the opening five games of that season.
The Cork native took over the Munster captaincy on a permanent basis ahead of the 2013/14 season, following the departure of former All Black Doug Howlett.
The 2022/23 campaign was O’Mahony’s 10th year as squad captain and ended with glory in Cape Town as he lifted the BKT United Rugby Championship title, alongside Keith Earls, after a thrilling final win over the DHL Stormers.
Along with captaining Munster, he has also led Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. Head coach Graham Rowntree and the rest of the Munster coaches will select a new squad captain in due course.
“Captaining Munster has been a dream come true for me,” commented the 34-year-old O’Mahony. “I grew up watching and idolising the Munster team and in particular the people who were leading the team.
“People like Mick Galwey, Jim Williams, then on to the likes of ROG (Ronan O’Gara) and Paul (O’Connell), who I had the privilege of playing with at the start of my career.
“I can remember the day I was asked to be captain like it was yesterday. and discussing it with Paul to get his approval. From that day to this, it’s been an utter privilege and has never been something I’ve taken for granted.
“However, having given a huge amount of thought to it, I think it is the right time to step back from the role to share my experiences and give the same guidance that I received when I took on the role.
“What an unbelievable honour it has been…and will always continue to be.”
Paying tribute to O’Mahony’s leadership of the team over such a long period, Rowntree said: “You couldn’t pick a better leader than Pete and he has been a fantastic captain for the province.
“To lead Munster from such a young age and for so many years speaks volumes of his ability as a player on the pitch and a person off it.
“He commands huge respect and will still be a massive leader within the group. To have someone of Pete’s experience on hand to help us with the succession process is invaluable.
“We have a strong leadership group within the squad and will confirm a new squad captain in due course.”