Andy Farrell selects Peter O'Mahony as Ireland captain for Six Nations

Peter O'Mahony at Wales v Ireland match during 2023 Six Nations Peter O'Mahony has been named Ireland captain for the 2024 Six Nations (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ireland boss Andy Farrell has selected Peter O’Mahony as captain for the Six Nations.

Munster flanker O’Mahony takes on the role from Johnny Sexton, who retired following last year’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand in Paris.

The 34-year-old, who first skippered Ireland in a 15-12 win over the United States in June 2013, has won 101 Test caps for his country, plus one for the British and Irish Lions.

“Ever since I was a boy starting off in the game, I have always dreamed of captaining Ireland,” said O’Mahony.

“I have been asked to lead Ireland on a number of occasions previously, and each of those 10 matches were special days.

“To be now asked to captain Ireland ahead of the Six Nations is without doubt one of the proudest moments of my life and I would like to thank Andy for this show of faith in me.”

O’Mahony led Munster to last season’s United Rugby Championship title but stepped down as skipper of his province in November after 10 years in the role.

While there has been speculation about his future due to his central contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union being set to expire at the end of the season, he has been preferred to the likes of James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Caelan Doris for the national team captaincy.

Head coach Farrell’s 34-man selection does not include any uncapped players.

However, there are recalls for Leinster quartet Cian Healy, Harry Byrne, Ciaran Frawley and Jordan Larmour, Ulster trio Tom Stewart, Nick Timoney and Jacob Stockdale, and Munster wing Calvin Nash.

Uncapped Munster pair Oli Jager and Thomas Ahern will join the squad as training panelists, in addition to Leinster out-half Sam Prendergast, who is also yet to feature at senior level.

Reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland begin the championship on February 2 against France in Marseille.

Farrell – who was last week named Lions coach for the 2025 tour of Australia – has retained 26 of the players picked for the World Cup.

Front-row forwards Dave Kilcoyne and Rob Herring, backs Mack Hansen and Jimmy O’Brien and fly-half Ross Byrne miss out due to injuries, while Sexton and Keith Earls have retired.

Jack Crowley is expected to step into Sexton’s shoes and begin the tournament in the number 10 shirt, with Frawley and Byrne, who have only three caps combined, providing back up.

“The forthcoming Guinness Six Nations presents an opportunity for us to grow and develop,” said Farrell.

“The Six Nations is one of the biggest stages in world rugby and this year’s competition will be keenly fought.

“I am pleased with the quality of performances by the extended group over the last number of weeks and believe that the squad is in good shape.

“It doesn’t get much tougher than France away in the opening weekend, but it is a challenge that we will approach in a positive frame of mind.”

Ireland Six Nations squad

Forwards: Ryan Baird (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Jeremy Loughman (Munster), Joe McCarthy (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (CAPTAIN, Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Tom Stewart (Ulster), Nick Timoney (Ulster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Harry Byrne (Leinster), Craig Casey (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Ciaran Frawley (Leinster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), Jordan Larmour (Leinster), James Lowe (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Calvin Nash (Munster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

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