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Mike Sherry pleads with fans to stand by faltering Munster


Munster hooker Mike Sherry

Munster hooker Mike Sherry

©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Munster hooker Mike Sherry

It's one of sport's many curiosities; the worse a team plays on a Saturday, the better they do in training.

Munster's apparent ability to transform themselves from training ground champs to match-day chumps has been alarming.

The parachuting of Andy Farrell will seek to alleviate the yawning gap yet, oddly, the coach with no "specific functions", but also a vast remit, will only work two days a week and never get to see why it all crumbles to pieces on a Saturday. Go figure.

The players remain the primary figures in the firing line; the amount of times one hears that they can't be faulted for effort usually means that the quality of that effort is sorely lacking.

For all the myriad of long-term problems facing Munster, the short-term task is simple.

A remedy must be found to restore a semblance of local pride against Stade Francais in Saturday at Thomond Park; the almost apologetic lunch-time kick-off reflects the fact that nobody else in Europe will really care.

Hooker Mike Sherry's attempts to rouse the restless faithful cannot but help resort to the familiar sense of desperate salvation.

"Everyone's entitled to an opinion," said Sherry. "People are right to question the performances.

"There are certain things I would disagree with. I do think we are a talented group. We have a lot of heart. We are trying incredibly hard. I have faith, I have belief in this group and I do think that we can do something good this year.

"We can still win a league, we can still put our best foot forward in Europe and finish on 15 points if we get two bonus point victories.

"I only care about what the players I play with, the coaches that are coaching me and my family and immediate friends are saying.

"Obviously I care. And the fans are struggling to see what we are trying to do. But all I can ask for is them to stick with us and we will try our absolute hardest to set it right this weekend."

Whether Farrell can help in this short-term is moot; this week, they all dutifully praise him, yet you suspect many may have turned their noses up a week earlier had one deigned to suggest Anthony Foley and his indigenous colleagues needed a dig-out.

"Regardless of what situation we are in, I think he is a good appointment," said Sherry. "I don't see it as undermining the coaches. I think he is a great appointment. I am not sure of his exact role."

Sherry should, perhaps, be taken at his word; asked if he would have welcomed Australian hooker Stephen Moore to challenge his authority, the Limerick native doesn't demur.

Interestingly, the IRFU blocked this overseas appointment to the roster, although Foley's inconsistent utterances on the issue have hardly clarified yet another grey area.

After his lengthy injury travails, Sherry personifies much of Munster in that his current relevance to the international team is negligible; he wasn't at the Carton House get-together, but that's the price one pays for individual and collective lack of performance.

"It was a goal of mine and I was disappointed but there's no point in complaining about it," he added. "We're not winning, which affects our chances.

"I haven't done enough to play myself in, so I'll put my head down and put in another two big European weekends. I just have to keep improving to get there."

Except, like many of his colleagues, getting from here to there seems to be quite the distance.

Belfast Telegraph