Schutte: 'I've always felt that we were a great team'
Amid all the emotions floating about O'Moore Park on Saturday evening, the most pronounced feeling Paul Schutte experienced was déjà vu.
A year ago, the Cuala captained missed their All-Ireland semi-final with a broken finger but played in the final when medical expertise suggested such a feat was remote.
This year, he again missed Cuala's All-Ireland semi-final, this time with a hamstring injury suffered in last year's Leinster final and the details of which sound severe when he outlined them after Saturday's victory.
"I tore the hamstring off the bone," he explained having followed Oisín Gough's lead last year and lifting the Tommy Moore Cup as Cuala's captain.
In fact, it was a minor miracle Schutte played all of the previous weekend's 80-plus minutes and 29 of the replay.
In total, his preparations for the first game amounted to two 10-minute warm-ups in training the week before.
"I was very lucky to get through the first game and it just went there. It was a bit too much."
And the injury is likely now to affect what was considered an inevitable return to the Dublin senior hurling squad whenever Cuala's celebrations subside sometime at the end of this week.
"That's out of my control, I'd say," Schutte shrugged.
"Again, as I say, it came off the bone so I'd say it could be another four, six-months spell for me.
"But we'll see what the physio and doctor say."
As for what Cuala had zoned in on from last week's draw, he outlined: 'We kind of clustered the forwards last week.
'We kind of .... I'd nearly say Kamikaze stuff, we pushed up completely and we kind of focused a bit more on holding our shape better in the backs, which would give the lads a bit of space."
All of which guaranteed Cuala their greatness.
"I've always felt we were a great team but I suppose now you have something to back it up," Schutte pointed out.
"It's for the rest of Ireland to see that we're a great team but I always believed in this team and so did the lads.
"If you want to be taken as a great team you have to be seen to be pushing and showing great character.
"We should have probably lost the game last week.
"We rode our luck a little bit but it was great character from the lads to never give up and just keep going and going and going.
"It's still subjective that we're a great team but you have to win it back-to-back to be put into that category.
"Now there's been a few facts backing that up," Schutte concluded. "It's good company to be in."