Flannery back from injury hell
Jerry Flannery's inclusion in Ireland's World Cup squad on Monday will end a battle with injury that left him "mentally broken".
Career-threatening calf problems have shackled Flannery to the treatment table for a year, restricting him to only two aborted appearances for Munster last season. But three final-quarter cameos for Ireland this month have passed without mishap and his name will be among those read out when the final 30-strong World Cup party is announced on Monday lunchtime.
Now that the unhappiest spell of his career is over, the 32-year-old hooker is determined to make an impact in New Zealand, and he said: "The last four weeks have been brilliant, even just running around the training field. I had a painful time on my own on the sideline watching all of the lads training. It was breaking me mentally."
He added: "I've worked as hard as I can and for so long. The medical team and (coach) Declan Kidney have shown a huge amount of patience and I want to repay them.
"I want to play as much as I can and if I try to take a positive on the last year, whatever's been wrong with my calf the rest of my body is pretty fresh.
"I feel mentally fresh and my hunger for the game has never been so great.
"I don't want to get fit just to make up the numbers, I want to go out there to do something. I want to play hard and win."
The fear of breaking down once again continues to pursue Flannery, but his outlook on his fitness has changed.
"I have a good perspective on injuries now - I don't worry about them any more," he said. "I don't worry about the injury now at any stage. It's got to the point that if it happens, it happens and there's nothing I can do about it.
"I'm still cautious in managing my workload during the week but on the pitch, it's full on."