Tuesday 12 December 2017

It's a case of once bitten twice shy as Cuala attempt to end barren SHC title run against St Jude's

Cuala hurler Mark Schutte
Cuala hurler Mark Schutte

If Cuala didn't celebrate quite as boisterously as might have been expected after slaying Ballyboden St Enda's in the county semi-final, it's because they've been down this road before and didn't find a happy destination.

In 2012, they beat 'Boden in their final group game, a result that bizarrely, left the Firhouse team bottom of Group C behind Cuala, Lucan Sarsfields and St Vincent's.

The result was remarkable both for its one-sidedness (Cuala won by 1-19 to 3-9) and for the fact that it consigned perennial heavyweights Ballyboden to the foot of their group.

Which, given they had won the previous five Dublin SHC 'A' titles, was a shock of the unfathomable kind.

Duly, Cuala picked their way past Craobh Chiaráin and Crumlin but encountered a Kilmacud Crokes team in the final with just a little bit more about them and a fraction more street smarts.

Which is why Mark Schutte is cautious about being overly-effusive about the magnitude of their semi-final win over 'Boden, as commanding a performance as any Dublin club put on in recent yars.


"I suppose it was a big day for us," Dublin's only 2015 All Star nomination concedes, "but we knocked them out in 2012 as well and we went on to lose the final. We probably got a bit complacent thinking all was won after beating Ballyboden.

"We'll be under no illusions" he adds, "we have another huge test in the final."

St Jude's were a whisker away from winning last year's title but were taken to extra-time by Crokes an eventually succumbed.

And Cuala have their selection issues, too, with word that Paul Schutte it out with a shoulder injury and a couple of suspensions arising out of their fractious quarter-final win over Craobh.

Nevertheless, it seems somewhat inevitable - given the density of talent there now and coming through in the club - that Cuala get their hands on a county title in the near future.


"There's been a lot of good work done underage and that always doesn't necessarily transfer to senior," Schutte outlines.

"But we've got a good manager in Mattie Kenny now and a good structure in place for our adult hurling section. We probably had a bit of luck this year getting to a championship final but it means nothing unless you go and win it."

Kenny, as it happens, was one vote away from supplanting Anthony Cunningham as Galway manager before the beginning of last season and Schutte is certain that the current Cuala boss is cut out for inter-county management at some point in the not-so-distant future.

"Yeah, I have only good words to say about Mattie," he explains, having played under his management for the past two seasons.

"He's a very passionate hurling man and even speaking to lads from Galway he helped them a lot in 2012 when they got to the All-Ireland final.

"And the previous year when they won an under-21 All-Ireland he had a huge influence with Anthony Cunningham.

"He definitely would be cut out for an inter-county job at some stage in the future," Schutte concludes.

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