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Sherry feels Ireland ambitions can be improved with Munster turnaround

‘It doesn’t matter if we are out of Europe or we got hockeyed the week before, we have got everything to play for.’

HOW DO YOU react when you learn that your province has been in the market for a player in your position?

Some might allow the news to affect them, to dent their confidence, but the players with genuine self-belief are comfortable in accepting that competition could only be a good thing.

Mike Sherry and Conor Murray Sherry has strong Ireland ambitions. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Stephen Moore won’t be coming to Munster and Mike Sherry’s quality is one of the reasons.

The IRFU were not happy at the prospect of Sherry and Munster’s other homegrown hookers being denied valuable game time by the presence of the Australian, while the cost of a Wallabies-eligible front row was also a factor.

Sherry says Munster’s move to lure Moore to the province hasn’t negatively impacted on him.

“No it wouldn’t affect me,” says Sherry. “I’ve gone through a lot to get back here and the fact that I’m starting and playing in European matches in incredible stadiums over in Paris is a bonus for me.”

“I’m not a cocky fella in any way, or brash, but I would back myself. I think I am a very good player and he could only improve me and my game. He [would have] come here with a lot of pedigree and experience, so I could learn off him.

“I think that if push came to shove I would back myself against anyone in the world. That’s not me being cocky. Most people know I’m not a cocky fella but having him here would have only improved me.”

Sherry has some justification for believing in his ability. The 27-year-old was capped by Ireland in 2013 and quite possibly would have furthered his international career since, but for his nightmare run of serious injuries in recent years.

The Limerick man, an alumnus of Ardscoil Rís, remains highly ambitious about playing for Ireland. He missed out on making Joe Schmidt’s recent training camp in Carton House, however, with Rory Best, Richardt Strauss, Sean Cronin and Rob Herring preferred.

Mike Sherry Sherry made his Ireland debut in 2013 against the US. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Yeah, I am [disappointed], but I obviously haven’t done enough to play myself in there,” says Sherry. “So put my head down and put another two big European weekends in a row and I just keep having to get my set-piece right and keep getting my hands on the ball and get more turnovers and keep improving to get there.

“It was a goal of mine and I was disappointed but there’s no point in complaining about it. We’re not winning at the minute, which obviously affects our chances as a group to get more Munster people up there, so more wins and bigger performances will get me there.”

Sherry’s injury misfortune – involving his knee and shoulder – meant he played just 10 times across the course of the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, leaving him with little in the way of a bank of chances to impress Schmidt.

He has, pleasingly, been fit for the most part during the current season and has already played 11 times for Munster in this campaign alone. Sherry now feels that to return to the Ireland fold requires him focusing more intently on his job at Munster.

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“I was injured for that amount of time that I’m sure I wasn’t in their thoughts and the four lads have played well that are up there, but I know what they’re looking for,” says the Garryowen clubman.

“They’re looking for a team that is winning, a team that is doing their roles and getting their jobs right. Joe is a fella that wants people doing their jobs and knowing what their roles are and at the minute we’re not doing that. I have to start doing that myself before thinking about Ireland.”

Mike Sherry The Limerick man says there is everything to play for this weekend. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Unfortunately for Sherry, he is part of a Munster team that has lost six of their last seven games and is struggling badly to generate form. Last weekend’s European defeat to Stade Français was a low point in the season, but Anthony Foley’s side do at least have a chance for some sort of retribution against the French side at Thomond Park on Saturday.

“You are in a review and a coach is showing you the opportunity you are creating and then you are dropping the ball, or you are kicking it out on the full, or you are throwing a crocked line-out, or missing a one-on-one tackle,” says Sherry of what needs to be improved.

“Professional players shouldn’t be doing that, and that is what we are doing at the minute. I back the coaches, the systems they have in place, all scenarios are talked through. Our preparation is second to none, I believe, but individual errors are costing us dearly.

“We have everything to play for, we are playing in Thomond Park in Europe against a French team.

“Me personally, I am playing in a rugby team with my closest friends, playing in front of my family, my girlfriend, my friends that I went to school with, and I am playing in front of Munster supporters. It doesn’t matter if we are out of Europe or we got hockeyed the week before, we have got everything to play for.”

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