Tuesday 12 December 2017

Danny: no going back

Sutcliffe intent on righting the wrongs of Leinster final

DANNY SUTCLIFFE is "embarrassed" but "definitely not worried".

Which might, on the one hand, seem like a strange emotional dichotomy. But then it's been a weird couple of days to be a Dublin hurler.

Firstly, he offers no excuses.

He was, in the words of his manager, "mad for road" going into the Kilkenny match and even if his hand still bears the scars of his double metacarpal break, he wanted badly to play and start and so his removal, in Sutcliffe's own eyes and words anyway, carries no tint of mitigation.


"Personally, I'd be embarrassed to be pulled that early. Didn't go well," he says.

"It's more that you're letting lads down who don't make the 26. Those who are sitting in the stand. I didn't do it myself.

"The 'keeper got Man of the Match so that says something," Sutcliffe adds. "Lads just hitting ball after ball in so it was damage limitation.

"Up front we didn't contribute at all. I didn't do it so personally,my hand was fine, nothing to do with my hand."

But surely, there's explanation - if not comfort - to be found in the fact that Sutcliffe himself did little hurling in the preamble to the dampest squib of a Leinster final in recent memory.

"No, I didn't," he shrugs, "but easy to say that now. I wouldn't be talking about that if it had gone well for me."

All of which is fair enough and admirably honest but it doesn't quite explain it either.


The closer people have examined it, the more theories last Sunday has sprouted.

Ger Loughnane said Dublin "flopped." Most pointed to the no-shows of some players to whom's strong performances you could usually set your oven timer.

Others reckoned management got it all wrong, a development exacerbated by good players playing shoddily.

A bad plan, poorly executed.

"I would always have faith in the system," Sutcliffe insists. "You have to if it's going to work. I'd always back it up. It's one thing thing hitting the ball in, but you have to win your own ball.

"Whatever system you do play, it comes down to having to win your own ball. It doesn't matter if it's 15 on 15 or….look, we didn't win our own ball."

There is, however, no signs of glumness or self pity from Sutcliffe.

If anything, he gives off the fidgety impression of some with an itch to scratch and the sooner the better.

"I'm definitely not worried anyway," he insists. "These things happen. I'm just going to have a long, hard look at myself and get ready for three weeks time.

"That's all I'm looking forward to now. We have to look at this. You only have so many big days out. You can't have that happening every time."

You'd be kept entertained then, were you of a mind to watch Dublin train this week. No time to feel sorry for themselves but just enough to save their season.


"The competitor in you, you're always going to be disappointed. But the most important thing now is Wednesday night. Get back, go at it again. Even on your own.

"Going down to a wall, pucking around and just trying to get sharp. When we're training well...you should be playing well on the weekends.

"We make it hard on ourselves alright. But straight away the message was, we've got to pick it up on go again. Stop feeling sorry for ourselves. That's the main thing. There's a fine line between analysing and just feeling sorry for yourself. Just pick it up and go again."

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