Mike Sherry has been on the comeback trail for over a year after a horror run of injuries that threatened to end his career. A slipped disc, nerve damage to his left leg and then a cruciate ligament injury over the space of a couple of years hasn’t deterred Sherry from being a big part of Munster’s future.
The Garryowen man has featured in all three of Munster’s competitive games this season and is thankful to just be back playing. “I’m fully fit now for a year and a half and it’s all going well,” said Sherry.
“There is a lot of competition (for the hooker position). Niall (Scannell) and Rhys (Marshall) had great years. Kevin O’Byrne, when he got the chance, did very well as well.
“Opportunities are limited. I was fit last year and I only got four or five games so I know I just have to take my opportunities when they come. Thankfully I’m getting a bit of a run now at the minute.”
Although he was available last season, Munster treated Sherry with kid gloves, introducing him sparingly . Sherry spent his time playing with the ‘A’ team and his club side, Garryowen, the latter a welcome distraction from a frustrating but enjoyable season.
“I was desperate to get back in with Munster but getting back playing with Garryowen, I hadn’t for them in five or six years. Playing with the ‘A’s, getting an opportunity every now and again with the senior team.
“It was a frustrating year but I really did enjoy it because I was back from a long term injury and there were times where I didn’t think I would play again.
“I haven’t backed up games with Munster back to back to back for a long time, so that in itself is very enjoyable. Being around the squad, travelling, getting an extended run and showing what I can do. I really enjoyed last year.”
Sherry has also enjoyed Munster’s shift from a game plan that revolved more around a kicking game to a style of play that suits his game a bit more. Johann van Graan has made changes to the style in pre-season but Sherry explains that they were only tweaks rather than wholesale changes.
“Every coach puts their own stamp on things. Johann is here the bones of a year now and has a full pre-season of tinkering and changing things a bit so yeah there are things we are trying and coming off in games. We just need to be a little bit more patient and we will get a lot more reward for it.
“I think you can see that we are playing good rugby. At times we have forced the pass a bit too much or not stuck to what we are trying to do.
“We scored some great tries the last day and hopefully that will continue. It’s very enjoyable. You are getting your hands on the ball a lot, which is the main reason you play rugby.”
One aspect of the game that Munster continue master to great effect is the lineout maul. They completely obliterated the Ospreys last week in that facet and Sherry said that it will continue to be a strength going forward.
“The last day against the Ospreys it was exceptional. We got great reward from it. Rhys got two tries. In pre-season it was good.
“Against the Cheetahs it ticked away but against Glasgow, they just didn’t give us lineouts until the last few plays of the game.
“We didn’t take our chances but if you can get a good maul going, you can suck the life out of a team and that’s what we plan on doing.”