Munster welcomes back Mike Sherry after 21 months out

International hooker has recovered from knee and shoulder problems

Ireland international hooker Mike Sherry will make his first appearance for Munster in almost two years in Friday night's pre-season game against Connacht at Thomond Park (7.45pm).

The 27-year-old Limerickman has been sidelined since November 2013, initially because of a knee injury. he then suffered recurring shoulder issues that kept him out of action.

Sherry admitted that he "did think the shoulder would be career threatening at times", but he has taken a full part in Munster's pre-season build up and will pack down between James Cronin and Stephen Archer, who have both been released from Ireland camp to play for their province this weekend.

Munster coach Anthony Foley has made seven changes in his pack from last week's defeat to Grenoble, with secondrow Dave Foley the only survivor. He will be partnered by academy lock Seán McCarthy.

In the backrow Dave O’Callaghan returns from injury after successfully rehabbing from a knee injury sustained in April. He is joined by Jack O’Donoghue and CJ Stander, who takes over the captaincy duties for the first time.

The final two changes come at halfback where Ian Keatley and Duncan Williams are introduced.

Connacht coach Pat Lam has made eight changes to the side that started against Castres in France last week with Ireland international Kieran Marmion named at scrumhalf. Outhalf Jack Carty is also reintroduced to make up the halfback pairing. Connacht's top try scorer from last season Matt Healy is named on the left wing.

Up front, John Muldoon returns to captain the side while Ultan Dillane and Andrew Browne make up a new secondrow partnership. JP Cooney and Tom McCartney come into the frontrow to join last week's try scorer Rodney Ah You.

Tighthead Nathan White, who made his debut for Ireland last weekend, is included amongst the replacements.

“We’ve played two tough games against French opposition and nearly everyone has had time to get rid of the pre-season rustiness. Competition is fierce for places which is what we want as coaches,” admitted Lam.

MUNSTER: David Johnston; Shane Monahan, Cian Bohane, Matt D'Arcy, Gerhard van den Heever; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Sean McCarthy, Dave Foley; Dave O'Callaghan, Jack O'Donoghue, CJ Stander (capt).

Replacements (from): Kevin O'Byrne, John Ryan, BJ Botha, Donncha O'Callaghan, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Bill Johnston, Francis Saili, Niall Scannell, John Madigan, Jordan Coghlan, Stephen Fitzgerald.

CONNACHT: Darragh Leader; Tiernan O'Halloran, Rory Parata, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; JP Cooney, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You; Ultan Dillane, Andrew Browne; John Muldoon (capt), Nepia Fox-Matamua, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements: Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Nathan White, Quinn Roux, Ben Marshall, Eoin McKeon, George Naoupu, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman, Dave McSharry.