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'I often thought about retiring and being happy doing something else'

Mike Sherry has been through injury hell over the last few years but will make his 100th Munster appearance this weekend.

Sherry hopes his injury hell is now behind him as he gets set for a landmark weekend.
Sherry hopes his injury hell is now behind him as he gets set for a landmark weekend.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

IT’S EIGHT AND A half years since Munster hooker Mike Sherry made his senior debut and there have been many times during that spell when he felt like packing it in as one serious injury followed another.

But the 29-year-old persevered and having recently been rewarded with a one-year contract extension, he will finally make his 100th appearance for the province against Ulster on Saturday.

“I often thought about retiring and moving on to something else nice and just been happy doing something else, concentrating on that, but luckily I stuck with it.

“I had great support here and at home but there were times when I didn’t think I’d make 100 appearances but I also knew if I walked away I’d regret it.

“And I know that if I can get a run and get fit I can compete and that’s why I stuck with it and luckily I’m getting that opportunity this weekend.

“If I walked away two or three years ago I knew I would have regretted it so I stuck with it and I hope my body is going to hold up now,” said the Limerick native.

He made his league debut against Connacht in December 2009 and his European bow came against Toulon in January 2011.

Sherry, whose father Mick was capped twice by Ireland in the 1975 Five Nations, was drafted in as cover for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and while he was also included in the Irish squad for the tour to New Zealand a year later, his only cap came against the USA in 2013.

By then Sherry, who became one of Munster’s youngest captains when he led them out against Scarlets in 2013 when he was 24, began suffering the first of several injury blows.

“In 2013 I did my ACL and we decided to get my shoulder work done while I was out with that but unfortunately that turned into a bit of a nightmare and I ended up with three surgeries on the shoulder and being out for 21 months.

Mike Sherry Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“Then I played the whole season the season that we don’t like to talk about. It wasn’t the most enjoyable year when we didn’t make it out of our pool and then I came in for pre-season in Rassie’s first year and was flying fit really.

“Then about five weeks into pre-season I felt a pop in my back and the next thing I was getting sciatic pain. I got an injection which got rid of that sciatic pain but my left leg just stopped working. All the power left my left leg so I had to get surgery on my back and it took me the bones of 10 or 11 months to start being able to jog.

“So around April or May last year I started getting a bit of feeling down my leg again and rocked up for day one of pre-season wondering whether or not I’d get through it. But I did, fortunately, I got through everything in pre-season and I’ve been fit all year.

“Opportunities have been limited and other lads have gotten in when I’d been injured and done well so it’s just about taking opportunities now that come my way towards the end of the year. And I still feel that if I can put my best foot forward I’ll have an opportunity to get into the 23 for the big games.”

It was a big boost to Sherry when Johann van Graan offered him a contract extension and all the Garryowen man is looking forward to now is a run of games to prove himself.

“I want to get through the season without picking up any more injuries and rock up for pre-season and get through all that again. I just need a run where I’m not injured and getting a few games. I still feel like I can compete. It’s been a long time since I played week in, week out at this level but I still have belief in myself and hopefully I can do that.”

But he expects a big challenge from an Ulster side who have to win to stay in the hunt for Pro14 honours, although he feels Munster have put their Champions Cup semi-final loss behind them and are in a good place going into Saturday’s game at Thomond Park.

Mike Sherry scores a try Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“I think they want to get into the last three and give themselves a chance of getting to the playoffs. They have had a turbulent year and I’m sure they want to finish the season well. Tommy Bowe, Paul Marshall and Piutau are moving on so they have a lot of motivation and playing an Irish team is always a big game for us.

“Fellas want to put their hands up and get in for the quarter-final, semi-final and final if we get there. It’s definitely a big week for us. People might think there is some lingering from last week that we’d be down this week, but certainly not from our point of view,” added Sherry.

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About the author:

John Fallon

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