Danny Sutcliffe enjoying Dublin return
By Cian O’Connell
Danny Sutcliffe is delighted to be back preparing for a busy stint with the Dublin hurlers.
After completing his studies in DCU, Sutcliffe opted to step away from the inter-county game to work for a year in New York.
Sutcliffe even managed to make an appearance in the Connacht Senior Football Championship for New York, but the St Jude’s clubman was happy to accept Pat Gilroy’s invitation back into the Dublin panel.
“There was contact with Pat and obviously knowing what he did with the footballers, he changed the culture of football and Mickey Whelan, having the chance to be involved with him,” Sutcliffe says about being back with Dublin.
“That is all it was, just an offer to come back in, I wasn't automatically on the team. It is a brilliant set-up, a great environment to be involved in.
“Probably now I'm getting into the wrong side of my twenties so I'm one of the mature ones looking to help bring in them 18 and 19 year olds who are now looking for an example. You have to be that for them, that is the job at the moment.”
Last Saturday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1B loss to Offaly was a setback for a youthful Dublin outfit, but Sutcliffe is satisfied to have returned to the Dublin fold.
“I do everything on my own terms,” Sutcliffe admits about his decision to opt out of the Dublin panel for a while. “It was nothing to do with the manager or players or how it was going. I was going away anyway regardless of how good it was going.
“At the end of the day people forget in Ireland it is a hobby. You can't let that dictate your plans or your career. I was going regardless on my own terms.
“It was fortunate that I was asked to come back by the manager. Like most people now if you perform well in the Club Championship or the trials we have you are given a chance. That is all you are asked for.”
Sutcliffe acknowledges that Dublin’s hurlers don’t have too far to look for inspiration, highlighting how the football team in the capital has evolved during the last decade.
“We wouldn't really look outside the county to other hurling teams we have the footballers here consistently,” Sutcliffe adds.
“There is an ethos and a set-up and a system there that players should be able to slot in and out. On Saturday you had eight debuts which was unusual to have that many, but it was great to have that many early in the season.
“It is great to be thrown in to see what it is all about, like anything with Joe Schmidt and the rugby people can slot in and out. Everyone knows they have a job to do.”
Dublin endured some difficult times and heavy Championship defeats in the past couple of campaigns, but Sutcliffe just wants to contribute in the present now.
“No regrets, I suppose it is like anything, playing, you can't second guess yourself,” Sutcliffe replies about his period out of the game. “The decision is always right at the time, I feel. It was tough watching because I'd be close friends with the lads, but it wasn't something I was going to be part of.
“I was away, I had plans to be away with work, you have to do that. At the end of the day I was going anyway. As you say it was tough watching, but now I'm back, I'm trying to contribute, to help, there are 18 and 19 year olds there who would have been babies when I came in.
“I wouldn't say I'm trying to take them under my wing, just they are looking for a template to look up to, to map out where they are going, I did it with Conal Keaney.
“Me, him, Johnny, Shane Durkin have to do it for Cillian Costello, Ronan Hayes from Crokes, who are 18 or 19 coming in. Baby foals coming in, that is all it is, trying to build, we had a good team ethos with a close group. That should transfer on to the pitch as well.”
Sutcliffe missed the Offaly defeat, but hopes to play some part against Antrim at Corrigan Park on Sunday. "I just wasn't ready for last weekend," Sutcliffe remarks.
"With the season now being so condensed the games are coming so I don't want to be missing too much either. Maybe I will be involved and be available for the weekend, it will be a tough one in Belfast." Sutcliffe's return is a significant boost.
***Dublin players Eimear McCarthy, Dean Rock, Leah Caffrey and Danny Sutcliffe were in Parnell Park today to kick off the 2018 Dublin GAA Season with team sponsor’s AIG Insurance.