Peter O'Mahony has been handed a three-match ban following his red card in Sunday's Six Nations loss to Wales. 

The Ireland flanker was dismissed by referee Wayne Barnes in the 14th minute of the Guinness Six Nations defeat in Cardiff for dangerous play.

The Munster captain became the first Ireland player to be sent off in the Six Nations.

Andy Farrell’s side welcome France to the Aviva on Sunday (3pm) with a two-week break then before a trip to Rome to face Italy. O'Mahony will miss both of those games, along with the 14 March clash against Scotland.

A Six Nations statement read: "The player admitted the act of dangerous play in a ruck and that the offending merited a red card. The player did not seek to challenge the referee's decision.

"In assessing the seriousness of the offending, the committee found that the offending was reckless.

"As the conduct involved contact with the head, although noting that no injury was suffered by the Wales number three (Francis), the committee determined that the entry point was mid-range, which for this offence is six weeks.

"The disciplinary committee concluded after careful consideration of the player's record and conduct in the hearing that the player was entitled to a 50 per cent reduction of sanction in mitigation.

"The player is suspended from February 7 to March 14, which represents three meaningful matches to the player. The player is free to play again on March 15."

In explaining their decision, the disciplinary committee explained that the offence deemed to have been a mid-range one, with the ban starting at six weeks, reduced by 50% by mitigating factors.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, defence coach Simon Easterby said: "He's gutted that he had to leave the field, that the lads had to continue for a large chunk of the game with 14 men. 

"He's going through the process today of the hearing and he's able to give his account of what happened. 

"People make mistakes, that happens. On the whole we responded really well to that. Obviously it would have been far better if we had 15 men on the pitch for a large chunk of the game but the decision was made. 

"There were other decisions in the game that weren't made and we have to deal with that. We can't look back so massive disappointment for Pete in himself.

"He'll have to deal with that himself but certainly the guys have rallied around and hopefully get him back into the mix sooner rather than later. 

"We could have solved a lot of those problems, even with 14 men, to concede the two tries we did."

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