MIKE SHERRY HAS finals on his mind.
Not final acts or final bows, though he is out of contract in the summer after being released by Munster and loaned to Gloucester, but tournament finals. Top class rugby.
There have been points through the years when Sherry has considered hanging up his boots, wondering whether his tireless efforts to rehab a horrible run of injury would ever bear fruit. But now he is fit and healthy. And there is no reason to give up on rugby.
This month, Sherry was one of four names on the list of players whose contract would not be renewed, with no part to play in the province’s plans for the coming seasons.
Sherry embraces with former team-mate Ian Nagle in Belfast in December. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Naturally, news of his impending exit from Munster was massively disappointing for the Limerick man. He wasn’t to know that his final act for his native province would be to help salvage a losing bonus point on a dirty winter inter-pro night in Belfast.
That deep cut could scarcely have come at a tougher time for Sherry as he and his wife Katie celebrated the birth of their son Josh just six months ago. Their second child after two-year-old Georgia.
He remains Munster to the core, harbouring no hint of a grudge with the organisation. Quite the opposite. Shedding the tag of Munster player simply turned him into a Munster fan and he was among the red army who watched the southern province succumb to Saracens in Coventry alongside his new house-mate Gerbandt Grobler.
“I’ve no hard feelings towards Munster at all, it’s an incredible part of my life,” Sherry told The42 this week from his new workspace at Gloucester’s Hartbury training base.
“I hope they win something this year… or ‘we,’” he corrects himself briefly back into the old habit and jokes that he might even get a medal sent his way if the visitors can take a win away from the RDS this afternoon and follow it up in Celtic Park.
Perhaps it would be fitting if Sherry was to step away from Munster while ribbons were tied to a trophy. At 22, in his second season of senior rugby, he was part of the last Munster squad to secure a title, the 2011 Celtic League title earned on a terrific, tough day out at Thomond Park.
On that occasion, Leinster had just equalled their neighbours’ haul of two European Cups. Nobody in Munster could have imagined that, eight years on, their most fierce rivals would double that tally while their own trophy cabinet gathered dust.
Sherry breaks beyond Jamie Heaslip in the 2011 Grand Final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“It is a special memory,” says Sherry, “I had all my family there and friends. Leinster were riding high, they had won the European Cup the week before. It was a brilliant day. We played well, deserved our victory and had a good few days afterwards. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to win anything since.