The player who will be taking the Ireland captain’s armband vacated when Rory Best was called up to the British & Irish Lions squad says he is delighted to see the Ulsterman get his chance.
Young backrow Munster forward, Peter O’Mahony, was interim Ireland coach, Les Kiss’s choice as captain once the experienced Irish hooker was called in to replace the disgraced Dylan Hartley.
English hooker Hartley was hit with an 11-match man for using abusive language towards referee, Wayne Barnes, during the Aviva English Premiership final between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers.
Best received the call on Sunday to take what many had felt was his place on the tour instead of Hartley, and arrived in Hong Kong yesterday with the rest of the Lions squad.
O’Mahony said he was honoured to have been given this opportunity to captain Ireland on their summer tour to North America.
“I was delighted to get the call and was equally delighted to see Rory get his chance with the Lions,” said the 23-year old backrow forward, capped 14 times for Ireland.
“Many of us felt Rory deserved it in the first place and that we should have been sending him our texts of congratulations on April 30.
“It is great to see another Irish international recognised by playing on the British Lions, something which all want to do, but may only get the chance to dream about.”
Kiss, who is standing in until new Irish coach Joe Schmidt joins the tour, echoed O’Mahony and added: “It is something all of us on this island thought was deserved in the first place, but that is the way it happens in selection sometimes.
“It is great reward for what Rory has done over the past four years. He has been immense for Ulster and Ireland,” Kiss added.