Wayne Sherlock was born in Cork in 1978. He grew up in Mahon on the south-east of the city close to Blackrock village. Although his family had no hurling tradition Sherlock showed great skill at the game.
Sherlock plays his club hurling with the famous Blackrock club in Cork. In 1994 he was a member of the club team that won the Cork County Minor Championship against Midleton. Two years later in 1996 he joined the Blackrock senior team and played in most of their league matches, however, he had yet to make his championship debut. In 1997 Sherlock became an automatic choice on the senior team for the championship. The following year he won his first senior county championship medal. Two more county senior titles followed in 2001 and 2002
Sherlock first came to prominence as a member of the Cork under-21 team that won back-to-back All-Ireland titles in 1997and 1998. He made his senior inter-county debut in a National Hurling League games against Kilkenny in February 1999. He played three further league games and was picked in the team that faced Waterford in the first round of the Munster Championship in 1999. Sherlock later won his first Munster medal that year, as well as being named "Man of the Match" in the Munster final against Clare. He later claimed his first All-Ireland medal with a victory over Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.
In 2000 Sherlock claimed a second consecutive Munster title, however, his side were defeated by Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final. Two years later in 2003 he won his third Munster title, however, he lost out on another All-Ireland medal when Kilkenny were victorious in the final. Cork and Sherlock were back in 2004. In spite of losing the Munster final, they came through the "back-door" and won the All-Ireland title. Sherlock finished off the year with his first All-Star Award. Injury forced him off the team in 2005, with his position at corner-back being taken over by Pat Mulcahy. Mulcahy proved so effective in the corner-back position that Sherlock failed to regain a place on the team and only made appearances as a substitute.