Front-row extensions James Cronin and Mike Sherry soften BJ Botha blow for Munster

Munster Rugby finally received some good news yesterday when Ireland-capped front-row pair James Cronin and Mike Sherry pledged their future to the struggling province by signing new deals.
Front-row extensions James Cronin and Mike Sherry soften BJ Botha blow for Munster

Yet, even the lift in morale their decisions to sign three and two-year contract extensions respectively brought, was tempered by news that front-row colleague BJ Botha has been ruled out for the foreseeable future after rupturing anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee during last Saturday’s Champions Cup defeat at Stade Francais.

The retention of Cronin, in particular, will bring some light to Munster, however, as Anthony Foley’s team bid to end a run of six defeats in their last seven games.

The highly-rated Dolphin loosehead had only yesterday been linked with a move to the Aviva Premiership, with London Irish reportedly leading the race to capture the Corkman when his contract expired this summer.

The potential loss of another promising Academy product prompted much gnashing of teeth with another young Irish prop, tighthead Marty Moore, seemingly poised to leave Leinster for Wasps next season.

Yet the 25-year-old from Ballincollig, capped twice on the 2014 tour to Argentina and currently rehabbing an ankle injury, yesterday put pen to paper on a three-year deal which will keep him at Munster until at least June 2019.

Sherry, 27, has committed to his home province until June 2018 and after returning to the first team after missing a season and a half due to three surgeries on a troublesome shoulder has signalled his desire to add to the one Ireland cap he earned against the USA on tour in 2013.

With Munster also announcing yesterday that centre and full-back David Johnston will be promoted from the academy to the senior squad for next season, there was finally good news for Foley to talk about yesterday.

“We are delighted with the latest news, and as a group are hugely lifted with three of our home-grown players committing their futures to the province.

“James and Mike have shown what they are capable of time and time again and they both have a massive part to play in this squad’s progression.

“Both are products of our under-age set-up at club and school level respectively and they represent the hard work that is being done at grassroots and academy level each week. Similarly, David, who is now breaking through has followed the same pathway and we look forward to seeing his growth over the coming years.”

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