Munster hooker Mike Sherry set to start this Saturday's Guinness Pro14 final round regular season fixture at Thomond Park, 5.35pm
MUNSTER hooker Mike Sherry admits he often thought about retiring from playing when a host of injury worries left him sidelined for months on end.
But Limerick man Sherry says he is glad he stuck it out and on Saturday he is in line to reach a milestone 100th appearance for Munster in their Guinness Pro14 final round regular season fixture with Ulster at Thomond Park, 5.35pm.
“I often thought about retiring and moving on to something else in life and just been happy doing something else, concentrating on that, but luckily I stuck with it.
“I had great support here (at Munster) and at home. I didn't think I'd make 100 appearances a couple of times, 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 and that's why I stuck with it and luckily I'm getting that opportunity this weekend.
“If I walked away two or three years ago, I knew I would have regretted it so I stuck with it and I hope my body is going to hold up now.”
Sherry’s tale of injury woes would have completely derailed the career of many a player.
Twenty nine-year-old Sherry explains: “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.
“Then I played the whole season the season that we don't like to talk about (2015/2016).
“It wasn't the most enjoyable year when we didn't make it out of our pool and 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 the bones of 10 or 11 months to start being able to jog even.
“So around April or May last year I started getting a bit of feeling down my leg again and rocked up for day one of pre-season wondering whether or not I’d get through it. But I did fortunately I got through everything in pre-season and I've been fit all year.
“Opportunities have been limited and other lads have gotten in when I'd been injured and done well so it's just about taking opportunities now that come my way towards the end of the year.
“And I still feel that if I can put my best foot forward I'll have an opportunity to get into the 23 for the big games.”
He said: “Yeah it was a big boost. I chatted to him (Johann Van Graan) a lot and he said we really want to keep you and that was great to hear from somebody who hasn't seen me play a lot.
“You can always look back at old games and he's talked to a few people and it's good to know that I'm still wanted here and rated here.
“If you look at it I haven't played a lot of games in four or five years. It was a big boost and was a big relief for me as well and I can concentrate on next year.”
Sherry says he has thought about life after rugby, but can’t quite put his finger on what he wants to do.
“I would love to tell you I know what I want to do after rugby, but I can't put my finger quite on it at the minute.
“My dad often asks me and I tell him to go away, he is annoying me!
“I finished my business degree from UL last year. My wife made me get up off my arse and actually finish it. I had deferred exams for a good few years, so I finished that last year.
“When I was questioning whether or not to keep going with rugby, I think if I had a definite path that I could have gone down I maybe would have said, I can park rugby and do this.
“But I don't, per se, have that at the minute and I do want to give myself every chance of getting an injury-free run and seeing if I can still compete and get back to the level I was at and further get up with Ireland. For now that is my main focus.”