‘One of those days that will be etched in your memory forever’

They are the days players dream of and Munster’s 18-17 victory in France over Perpignan is another to enter the province’s rugby legend.

For scrum-half Cathal Sheridan, getting such a dramatic result in his first Heineken Cup start made it all the more memorable.

So too did the sight of his father, Oliver Sheridan, running up and down the touchline with a Munster flag, roaring his team on as JJ Hanrahan snatched a dramatic, match-winning try in the last move of the game.

Those are moments to treasure for the UL Bohemians half-back, handed his first European start in just his third Heineken Cup game following Conor Murray’s knee injury.

“As a young fella you grow up watching stuff like this,” Sheridan, 25, said.

“That word that’s thrown about a lot, about Munster folklore, I think this is going to be another one of them, I hope it is.

“It is my first real involvement in it and you really got a sense for it. All you had to see was the fans waiting around after the game, the support that travelled. It was just absolutely incredible. I don’t think you can put a price on that.

“It was something [Keith] Earls talked about during the week, about the fans. They stayed at the end, they showed their respect to us. It is just one of those great days that will be etched in your memory forever.

“It was great on a personal note as well. My father travelled over and it was great to have him over here. He was running up and down the sideline with a flag! He was going a bit crazy.

“He would go to a lot of games. In fairness, he travels the length and breadth. He is a Sligo man, my mother is a Limerick woman. She wasn’t able to make it, I think dad got the last ticket on the supporters’ plane. I don’t know how he managed to do it but he got himself on the plane.”

He made his debut in round two as a two-minute replacement for James Downey against Gloucester but had a meatier role to play in round three when Murray was injured just 17 minutes into the home clash against Perpignan.

There was even more to be done last Saturday for his full European debut in a game Munster had to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive.

“It was huge,” Sheridan said. “I could try and act cool and say I will take it in my stride but, no, it was a massive thing. I felt really good after last week, the lads were great.”

Paul O’Connell was another to make an impression on the inexperienced scrum-half during the build-up to the Stade Aime Giral showdown.

“I didn’t feel under any particular pressure as such. I was obviously nervous but you feel that before any game.

“Paulie gave a great speech just before the game about where everyone in this team has come from and things like and that. People don’t understand the work people have to do to get into this team. They only see what is out on the pitch, there is a lot more to it than that.”

There was also a lot more to the victory than a scoreboard can relate, as Munster rallied from 9-3 down at half-time and then again with time up for Hanrahan’s try.

“It is belief really, I suppose that is the underlining thing, no matter what situation you get into,” Sheridan said.

“I don’t know if there was a person in the stadium who would have bet on us winning after they scored that try.

“But it is belief, and knowing the trust that we have in the strength and conditioning coaches, the incredible job, and you always feel you have got one up on the man in front of you.

“You look at the guys who came on and made an impact, the guys who scored the try … Tommy [O’Donnell] — I don’t know how he got his hands free there at the end — and then JJ. Those guys that had that bit of spark at the end and that’s what makes the difference in big games.”


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