EAMONN SHERIDAN joined London Irish last summer after a pre-season transfer from championship side Rotherham.
Soon after, the 24-year-old from Meath met up with his life with his Exiles squad mates for an orientation camp in Aldershot.
Sheridan recalls how the team were put through their paces alongside the Irish Guards as part of a big pre-season fitness drive this term.
“It was a really tough week,” said Sheridan of the gruelling camp, adding: “It was a good bonding trip for the lads too.”
Prior to Rotherham, the centre had spent the past four years in Dublin with Leinster’s academy. There, Sheridan played three Rabo games, friendly appearances for the firsts as well as ‘A’ fixtures.
Add to that international experience, having spent two years with Ireland U20s, and it’s easy to see why the handsome 6ft 4in back has made such an impact for London Irish so far this season.
Born in Birmingham, Sheridan said he has friends who have moved to London, something which helped with the bedding-in process back in June when he moved to the club.
Speaking about his initial transition to the club, Sheridan said: “Everyone’s been really friendly so far. All the lads are good guys and it’s a really open, friendly sort of club.”
Sheridan, a versatile back-liner (who prefers outside centre) is a big presence and has brought greater depth and more options to the Irish backs.
Having played under Joe Schmidt at Leinster, how does Sheridan compare the set up at London Irish?
“I do see similarities with Leinster and here; between Schmidt and Brian [Smith] as well because he’s very particular with his details and nothing really goes unseen around here,” he said.
Sheridan said his main goal for the season was to challenge for the outside centre position. However, he emphasised that his priorities would be for the team.
“Coming into a new club, I think, learning the new systems is probably the most important thing. Game time-wise, it’s not really up to me.
“Hopefully I’ll help the team out as much as possible; to fit into the team more than anything, rather than thinking of anything individual,” he said.
Irish only won once away from home in the league last season – a 12-18 victory over Gloucester in January. This year, the Exiles have matched that already after a tight 20-18 victory over Worcester Warriors last month.
With regards to Irish’s poor away form, how exactly does a coach go about training to play well away from home?
“There’s a real emphasis on getting a close-knit team,” explained Sheridan. “I think when you are on the road and you’re away from home, the tighter the team is the more they’re going to work for each other.”
As a new player, what does he hope to add and bring to the team?
“Firstly strength in depth, hopefully. I’d like to be trusted in the big games as well.
I like to think that I could be a good ball-carrier for the team. Hopefully bring some physicality too,” said Sheridan.
How long off are the team before they can realistically start pushing for top four again?
“Well,” Sheridan pauses to consider. “There are a lot of new faces in the squad this year.