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Danny Sutcliffe

Danny Sutcliffe

Danny Sutcliffe

THE process of choosing the most memorable moment in Danny Sutcliffe's 2013 is a far more succinct and macabre process than you might imagine.

Scoring the goal in Portlaoise? The one that dragged Dublin to victory over Kilkenny, the All-Ireland champions, the team festooned with some of the greatest players in history, the first time such a result had occurred in Championship hurling for 71 years.

And in a replay? An occasion on which – apparently – the Cats are never beaten.

 

Or the Leinster final? The befuddling of Galway, a team against which Dublin have flinty recent history, on a beautiful day in Croke Park and raising Bob O'Keeffe (presented by Jimmy Grey) into the summer sun for the first time in 52 years?

Or, on a slightly more self-indulgent note (yet a wholly justified one) winning his first All Star, at the ripe old age of 21, alongside Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe ... national recognition of his prodigious talents and season's work?

"Losing to Cork," says the St Jude's man, without hesitation for even quick consideration.

"And I'm not just saying that to keep the expectation down. I couldn't even look at it for a while.

"We felt ... we backed ourselves and to come out and lose a tight game like that in a semi-final. The first thing that comes in is the Cork game."

This theme of failure is Sutcliffe's recollection though the prism of an All Star trip to Shanghai and a team holiday to New York.

The dessert after an à la carte of seasonal success.

"You hear people banging on that Leinster was huge, and it was," he says. "But it came a year late. You remember your losses more than your wins. Well, I do.

"I remember Portlaoise when we lost by about 18 points (in 2012 to Kilkenny), so it was a year late. I won't forget that.

"You have to keep it in the back of your mind and use it to fuel your appetite. But the main thing was we were left disappointed and that's what we'll be taking into the new year."

Sentimentality, then, is not Sutcliffe's forte.

"Just talking there ... even stuff like the All Star, that was forgotten about that weekend. I enjoyed that weekend, but it's over now. It's not even in the sitting room. I wouldn't let me Ma put it in there so ... I'm reminded by my manager to forget about it as well. It might sound funny, but I'm just mad now to get back in, get my spot back and hold it.

"We have young lads coming into the panel now. I'm just mad to get back and get going again. It's been a long while."

Next year will be Anthony Daly's sixth as Dublin boss and, though Sutcliffe has only be a senior for half that time, he insists the Clare man's voice remains fresh in the dressing-room.

"We're delighted we're still listening to him, to be honest with you. He motivates us. The success we've had under him – it hasn't been much – but we expect to do well under him ever year.

 

BELIEF

"He gives us that belief that we're going to do well every year. It's really down to him that we're improving every year. If you're learning something off someone, you're constantly going to pay attention to what they're saying. I'm constantly getting something out of him.

"The thing is, you have no automatic right to get back where you were (last season).

"We have no automatic right to be back at the 65th minute before Pat Horgan got the goal (in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final).

"We're back to square one. We don't have any right to do well, even in the league.

"The first game is Walsh Cup. You look no further. We'll never get caught out like that again," concludes the St Jude's clubman.


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