Peter O'Mahony’s account of the 2021 Six Nations will make for interesting reading, should he decide to write an autobiography.

He lasted just 14 minutes of the opening round defeat to Wales before referee Wayne Barnes brandished a red card for leading with his forearm into the face of the prop Tomas Francis

Ireland left Cardiff with a 21-16 defeat, while O’Mahony would be handed a three-match suspension for his actions. Championship hopes went up in smoke a week later against France, but after getting back on the horse with wins over Italy and Scotland, England travel to Dublin on Saturday with a lot at stake considering both sides have little more than pride to play for. 

A home win and Andy Farrell can rightly point to an upward curve and an unfortunate start to the campaign given O’Mahony’s red card and two-point defeat to Les Bleus a week later. 

A defeat and the murmurs of discontent will grow louder. 

It’s little wonder that O’Mahony is itching to be involved this weekend after watching on from the sidelines. 

"It’s been hard," he tells RTÉ Sport. "It's different when you are injured. You are on a different buzz, but when you are fit and healthy and rearing to go, and you can’t, it makes things tougher. 

"I spent a couple of weeks with Munster, training with the A team, helping the seniors prepare for their games, and back in here last week, helping the lads prepare [for Scotland] which I certainly enjoyed, but I won’t make any bones about it, I’m looking forward to getting back playing." 

With English flankers Tom Curry and Mark Wilson making their presence felt in the Championship and Billy Vunipola beginning to play his way back into form, O’Mahony’s presence, even if it is off the bench, could be telling if Ireland are to nullify a fearsome English pack. 

Team captain Johnny Sexton says after contributing to the camp while suspended, it is a welcome boost to have the 31-year-old available for selection. 

"It’s great that he is back from his suspension. He was with the group last week and the week before, just staying in contact and making sure he was up to date with all the lineouts and plays and stuff.

"We obviously have a shorter week having played Sunday and we have to get the recovery right with only the one pitch session this week, but Pete is experienced and the good form that he had before suspension will help him to fit back in if selected." 

O’Mahony accepts full responsibility for the high challenge that led to his red card against Wales, but isn’t about to go changing his game anytime soon. The Test arena is one where players live dangerously close to the edge; coming out the wrong side occasionally is simply a hazard of the job. 

"When it comes to the breakdown, and international rugby, you have to be incredibly urgent, accurate and bring physicality. These incidents happen, it’s a very physical game. 

"I have always played hard, always played fair in my view. 100% I was wrong with what happened, but I think my team-mates know better than anyone I was acting with the best intent for the team that day.

"I don’t think they will be looking to me to put in a different performance from what I would do any day of the week when I play for Ireland. That would be unjust to the jersey. I go out every time to play as best I can.

"The lads around me know that." 

Follow Ireland v England (kick-off 4.45pm, Saturday) via our live blog on and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, 8pm Monday.