Wednesday 20 February 2019

Sutcliffe 'hopeful' Schutte will declare for hurlers

Danny Sutcliffe. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Danny Sutcliffe. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

They had a lunch appointment later in the day but Danny Sutcliffe wasn't expecting an immediate answer from Mark Schutte as to whether he would become a Dublin hurler again after spending a year away with the footballers in 2017.

However, it's decision time in the coming weeks and with successful Cuala business out of the way for another season, Sutcliffe is hopeful his old school pal will return.

So far there has been no firm indication from Schutte, who featured for the Dublin footballers against Carlow last year, that he will re-commit to the hurlers.

"He'll make his own mind up, he had a brilliant final, probably his best game in a year or two," said Sutcliffe, an ambassador for Kellogs at the launch of the 2018 GAA Cul camps in Dublin yesterday.

"In the next few weeks, we'll know. Let them go and play their club games now but you would be hoping to have Mark on board. I think Con (O'Callaghan) would be out of reach. We'd love to have him obviously but Mark is the one, up in the air."

Sutcliffe is hoping for a significant bounce from the return of Cuala's contingent.

"It definitely correlates," he said of the presence of club champions in a county.

"Vincent's had their All-Ireland (2008) when Pat (Gilroy) came in (with the footballers) and there were a few good runs from Ballymun and Crokes, so it definitely helps.

"The Cuala lads are coming in off that win and they're going to be flying in terms of confidence and the way they're playing, it can only add to it.

"You've seen the type of players that are coming in - Jake Malone, Cian O'Callaghan - they're a versatile type of player. Cian's obviously been there a few years, David Treacy is coming back in.

"He'll be doing something similar for us to what he did for Cuala.

"I suppose what Pat's going to love about them is they work extremely hard. I've probably never seen a team to tackle as well as Cuala did this year. They don't leave their hand in, the hurl never touches the helmet."

Sutcliffe has taken time to find his form after two years away from the inter-county game, the first year completing a masters in finance with the second year spent in New York, working.

"It took me a while and I struggled a bit with an injury during the League," he explained.

"I was just basically playing games so I have that marked out now and I've my club game (with St Jude's) at the weekend which I can't wait for. It just takes a while.

"It doesn't take long to come back, it's just moving in with a new group. That's the big thing and getting to know new people doesn't take me long."

Sutcliffe admits that stepping back into a Dublin hurling dressing-room required a lot of familiarising because of the pace of personnel change.

However, Gilroy's creation of a solid environment has them on the right path, he feels, despite some adverse results in the League.

"He took the football job at a tough time and he had no experience and I appreciate someone who can back themselves like that," said Sutcliffe.

"If he's putting himself out there, the way he did the footballers, obviously people are going to come in behind him.

"A man with direction is what you look to. He made a statement by taking the job so straight away I was enamoured by that and I wanted to be a part of it.

"You're not trying to win a few games, you're trying to change a culture," he added.

Irish Independent

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