'Universally' respected veteran backed to fill Ireland's captaincy void

Denis Leamy, the defence coach of Munster, has expressed his support for loose forward Peter O'Mahony to be the new captain of the Ireland rugby team, following Johnny Sexton's retirement. Sexton, who had an illustrious career, played his last match for Ireland in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand last month. Now, Andy Farrell, the Ireland coach, will have to consider who should lead the team going forward.

O'Mahony, on the other hand, reached the milestone of 100 Test caps for Ireland during the same tournament. Leamy believes that O'Mahony is the right person for the captaincy role, stating, "Peter is highly respected among the Irish players. Having worked with the Leinster players, I know firsthand the esteem they hold him in, which is truly remarkable."

Leamy, who himself played 57 Tests for Ireland between 2004 and 2011, added, "I'm sure players in Connacht and Ulster feel the same way about him." O'Mahony's achievements in the game, including his leadership qualities and high standards, make him a strong candidate for the captaincy.

The 34-year-old Munster captain led his team to victory in the United Rugby Championship earlier this year. He also captained the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand in 2017, showcasing his leadership skills on a global stage. Leamy emphasized O'Mahony's pedigree, stating, "If Ireland were to choose him, it's worth noting that he has already been a Lions Test captain. His experience and accomplishments make him a great option for Andy Farrell to consider."

Another contender for the captaincy is James Ryan, the lock from Leinster, who has already captained Ireland in Sexton's absence. Ryan has also been named as Leinster's co-captain for the season, alongside center Garry Ringrose.

After a disappointing exit from the Rugby World Cup, Ireland's focus now shifts to the upcoming Six Nations tournament, followed by a tour to South Africa in July 2024 to face the reigning world champions, the Springboks. Ireland, currently ranked second in the world, dropped to this position after their defeat to the All Blacks in the World Cup.

In conclusion, with Johnny Sexton retiring, the captaincy of the Ireland rugby team is up for grabs. While Peter O'Mahony and James Ryan emerge as strong contenders, it will ultimately be Andy Farrell's decision to determine the future leader of the team.