Leinster is not enough for Sutcliffe

Dublin hurler Danny Sutcliffe wearing the new jersey featuring the logo of Dublin GAA sponsor, AIG Insurance. Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile

Frank Roche

YOU'D imagine this sporting life couldn't get much better for Danny Sutcliffe...

YOU'D imagine this sporting life couldn't get much better for Danny Sutcliffe, the Dublin hurler who nabbed that crucial goal to topple Kilkenny last June, who landed a Leinster title a week later, who received his first All Star award last Friday night.

You'd be wrong.

Not that Sutcliffe is wallowing in self-pity but, three months on from Dublin's Championship exit to Cork, he still harbours regrets about what might have been.

He has looked back on the Dublin v Cork DVD – more than once – and reasons that, even allowing for Ryan O'Dwyer's controversial sending-off, they might still have edged that pulsating semi-final.

The wounds were still sufficiently raw that he couldn't bear to watch the drawn All-Ireland final between the Rebels and Clare. That hurt, he hopes, will propel Dublin back in search of the ultimate next season.

"I said I'd watch it (Dublin v Cork) once or twice and I'd leave it behind me. We're still really disappointed," the wing-forward admitted, speaking at yesterday's launch of Dublin's new sponsorship deal with AIG.

"The first Clare v Cork game in the final, I chose to be in work that day because I just couldn't watch it," he expanded, "whereas maybe other years you'd be delighted to be in the semi-final.


"We would have gone in and enjoyed the final, but lads couldn't even look at the final. So that's maybe a bit of a sign where we've moved on from, from being easily satisfied."

The $64 million question: would Dublin have beaten Clare?

"I couldn't say that now, I don't want to comment on that!" he demurred.

"We'll see, we'll bring it into next year. We just couldn't look at it.

"We were just disgusted, more with ourselves, that we had let ourselves down."

This attitude that Dublin have even more to give was underlined by Sutcliffe's mature reflection on ending the county's 52-year Leinster famine.

"We had a night in my club the other night and everyone's delighted with the Leinster and I know it (the Bob O'Keeffe Cup) is here today," said the St Jude's man. "But to be honest with you, that came a year late ... we got beaten by 18 points by Kilkenny (in 2012) and we haven't forgotten that.

"So the main thing I'm taking now into the pre-season is that we were left disappointed.

"There's no reason to get carried away. That was something we had to do.

"We've made progress the last few years, but that doesn't do it for us anymore.

"We have belief in ourselves, in our own ability. We can go further and there's no need to be satisfied with that," he signed off defiantly.