Belfast Telegraph

Resilient Sherry is delighted to rack up his century

Ton up: Mike Sherry will hit 100 Munster appearances
Ton up: Mike Sherry will hit 100 Munster appearances

By John Fallon

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.

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But the 29-year-old persevered and, having recently signed a one-year contract extension, he will 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 being happy doing something else, concentrating on that, but luckily I stuck with it," he said.

"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. That's why I stuck with it and luckily I'm getting that opportunity this weekend."

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

Sherry was drafted in as cover for Ireland for the 2011 Rugby World Cup but his only cap came against the USA in 2013.

By then Sherry 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," he said.

"Then I played the whole 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. 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 10 or 11 months to start being able to jog.

"Opportunities have been limited and other lads have got in when I was injured and did well, so it's just about taking opportunities now that come my way."

Meanwhile, Keith Earls has become the first to win the Munster Senior Player of the Year award having already received the Academy and Young Player gongs.

However, Earls, speaking in Cork at the annual awards ceremony, said that while he appreciated individual awards, he much preferred getting 'a small medal' for capturing team titles.

"It is an honour to be recognised but we are team players and it is team trophies we are after, but this is something I will look back on when I retire and I will be grateful for it," he said.

"We are desperate to do well and win trophies, especially myself and lads who have been around for a long time. That was my sixth European semi-final defeat and that's not taking the league into account.

"Now we move on to Ulster and the other games that are left."

Former Ulster player Sam Arnold was named Young Player of the Year.

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