Injuries to Keith Earls and Mike Sherry add to Munster’s tale of woe

Coach Anthony Foley forced to plan without several regulars as new season looms

Coach Anthony Foley with several Munster players at a squad training session at  CIT, Cork. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Coach Anthony Foley with several Munster players at a squad training session at CIT, Cork. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 01:00

Munster’s injury woes are mounting ahead of the start of the new season with news that Keith Earls has suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for a month, while hooker Mike Sherry will miss the rest of the year with a shoulder injury.

Already new coach Anthony Foley has been forced to plan without skipper Peter O’Mahony, Donnacha Ryan, Damien Varley, Gerhardt van den Heever and all of his international contingent for the opening weeks of the season. But the loss of Sherry and Earls is a massive blow to Munster.

Sherry had been working his way back from a cruciate ligament injury sustained last December, and decided to have corrective surgery on a shoulder problem at the same time. However, a follow up appointment with his shoulder surgeon uncovered issues with his shoulder graft and he was forced to have another operation last Friday to fix the problem.

Sherry started last season vying with Damien Varley for the starting hooker’s jersey, but Varley has also been ruled out of Munster’s opening Guinness Pro12 game against Edinburgh as he rests an ongoing foot problem.

Third choice hooker Duncan Casey, who impressed last season, looks set to miss Munster’s first pre-season game against Gloucester this Saturday as he ramps up his pre-season work, while young No 2 Niall Scannell will miss the next month because of a wrist injury.

With four of his leading hookers our of action, Foley has called up Kevin O’Byrne from UL Bohs and Gerry Slattery from Young Munster.

Shoulder graft

“Mike Sherry is gone for six months. He went under the knife again last week, the shoulder graft didn’t take and he had to get it redone. Unfortunately Mike is out for another five to six months.

“It a huge blow for everyone, but personally for Mike, we’ll look after him, it’s important to us . He’s an integral part of our squad . . . .

“Kevin has been with us all pre-season because of the Damien Varley and Niall Scannell situation. When Mike’s issue raised its head a couple of weeks ago we brought in Gerry Slattery into our squad.

Foley, who look set to run his eye over more than 25 players in the weekend’s clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm. There was more bad news for Earls who picked up a knee injury training with Ireland last week, and he will also miss the start of the season.

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