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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 29 August, 2014

Dave McSharry eager to finish season on a high and make Irish summer tour

The inside centre played for the Wolfhounds last January and could yet be a long term option for Joe Schmidt’s new midfield.

Dave McSharry shrugs off Tobias Botes of Treviso.
Dave McSharry shrugs off Tobias Botes of Treviso.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

DAVE MCSHARRY WAS six minutes into the sixth game of his comeback from injury when his ankle gave way. It took some help getting there.

“I got tackled by one of the Welsh lads and my ankle was held in place,” McSharry told TheScore.ie. “Another guy came in at full pace at tackled me from the opposite direction. I just felt the ankle go.”

The inside centre was not long back on the field after undergoing hip surgery in the off-season. He has since clocked up 10 games and struck up midfield partnerships with both Eoin Griffin and Robbie Henshaw. Having featured in Irish training squads and played for the Wolfhounds, during the Declan Kidney era, the 24-year-old is hoping a consistent end to the season will put him in the spotlight for an international, summer tour.

McSharry missed the chance to tour North America with Les Kiss’ Ireland team last summer — leaving the likes of Henshaw and Stuart Olding to earn senior caps — as a trip to the surgeons beckoned. After discussions with the IRFU’s medical staff, it was agreed that McSharry would go in for hip surgery.

He commented, “I play and train. I used to sit out the odd midweek session. It was something I worked my game around but it wasn’t until I got the call-up for Ireland that I noticed the difference. The step up in intensity was so stark that I felt it immediately. I spoke with a couple of Leinster lads who had had the procedure and they all came back from it well.” The Dubliner describes the process:

I had both hips done. The ball and socket joint didn’t fit properly so the doctor had to go in and pare off some bone on both sides and clean up any damage that was in there. It has made a huge difference to how I train and play. I take a full part in every session now and can do all the squatting drills.”

McSharry’s second comeback has coincided with Connacht’s three game winning run. The confidence is coming back, he says, and the province are targeting their highest ever league finish of sixth. “The lads are really buying into the systems Pat [Lam] has in place and we are starting to get a lot of lads back from injury at a good time,” he said.

Dave McSharry

McSharry in full flight against Scarlets.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A strong run of games could yet see McSharry — a tackle-busting centre with good hands — tour with either the senior squad or Emerging Ireland this summer. He said, “I have not had as much rugby as I would have liked but things are clicking into place and I feel great. Joe [Schmidt] and Les [Kiss] have been down to Connacht and let lads like myself know what they’re looking for. I’m have hopes of being in the mix for Argentina but I would be happy to tour with any Irish squad, just to prove what I can do.”

One player that has impressed the Irish coaching staff is McSharry’s Connacht teammate Henshaw. Name-checked by Brian O’Driscoll and Schmidt as a main challenger for the Irish No.13 jersey, McSharry has been blown away by the progress the 20-year-old has made.

“He has been great this season and you can see that Ireland were eager to get him involved as much as possible and have a good look at him,” said McSharry. “Everything I look at Robbie he is getting bigger. He is a talented guy and could get a good run at outside centre next season as we have cover at fullback in Gavin Duffy, Tiernan O’Halloran and Darragh Leader.”

Connacht’s match with Dragons will only be screened live on BBCWales, with TG4 showing highlights at 17:40. Both @connachtrugby and @rugby_ie will be tweeting updates during the match.

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