Schutte and Cuala hungry for more
Cuala are on the road again. Last weekend brought a third county title in a row but there's no time to celebrate because on Sunday, they'll put their Leinster crown on the line when they welcome Kilkenny champions Dicksboro to Parnell Park.
Their run to glory last St Patrick's Day has seen a significant shift in horizons for the club. They'll stride into the provincial competition with renewed confidence. But star defender Paul Schutte admits it took them a few months to get over their breakthrough All-Ireland win earlier this year.
"Mentally, to get over it, it was definitely the middle of the summer. It was probably around August," Schutte said.
"Subconsciously… we came back and we played 'Boden (Ballyboden) in the championship and you say you're over it but it's in the back of your head. You can't.
"It was in August, when we started training hard again, that we really started to focus in on this year."
Schutte reckons there will be no resting on laurels. Winning three in a row in Dublin was great but it's done now. A new target has been set and he wants the southside outfit to retain their Leinster crown.
"We're a very driven bunch. There are a few of us whose dads have won three championships. So that was always in my mind; to win three championships and captain the team like he captained the team. So that was always in the back of our minds.
"But we feel we're only scratching the surface with this team. We still feel that we're very young. We're still hoping to win plenty more. We're ready to rock for Leinster now.
"It's (three in a row) just absolutely incredible. I can't put it into words. I suppose the one last year, it was just a mission to get back and win Leinster after losing the final the year before. Now we're looking to do back-to-back (in Leinster), which not many teams have done. So that's the goal now."
Dicksboro are coming off the back of a first win in Kilkenny in 24 years but Schutte believes the Dublin campaign has them well primed for Leinster.
"I'm a massive advocate of Dublin club hurling. I said it after Paddy's Day last year - 'Boden and Crokes were our toughest games all year.
"And to be honest, I was more worried getting out of Dublin than I would be about retaining an All-Ireland.
"It's a massive battle. We were lucky to scrape through Brigid's. So the standard of Dublin hurling is very high."
Schutte believes the club caught a break when their manager Mattie Kenny was overlooked for the Dublin job, with Pat Gilroy getting the nod instead.
"I was slightly relieved when he didn't get it. The things he has done for this club is incredible.
"It's Cuala's gain. It's Dublin's loss but at the same time, Pat will do an unbelievable job. So it's in good hands now."
And having sat out the 2017 intercounty season, Schutte left the door open for a return to the Dublin set-up when his Cuala commitments end.
"That's not my decision," he replied when asked if he's wanted back by the Dubs. "It's up to Pat. Whatever way he wants to go.
"We'll have to see how this year pans out. I'll think about it then.
"I can't look that far ahead. Just keep playing with the club and see what's at the end of it."