Dublin hurlers have been boosted with the return of Danny Sutcliffe to the fold ahead of the forthcoming 2018 season.
However, Sutcliffe knows he will not just walk straight back into the team off reputation alone.
Having broken on to the Dublin senior hurling panel in 2011 with a fearsome underage pedigree, winning a Leinster Under-21 Hurling Championship medal in the same year, the St. Jude’s clubman has been a star performer with the capital’s small ball outfit. This was notably recognised in 2013 when he was awarded an All-Star for his displays en route to clinching an historic Leinster title for Dublin under Anthony Daly.
It was particularly under Daly which Sutcliffe blossomed. For the former’s replacement as Dublin boss, Ger Cunningham, the same can unfortunately not be said. Sutcliffe decided to take a work opportunity in the U.S and fled the Dubs hurling camp under Cunningham and lined out for the New York footballers in a Connacht SFC tie in the intervening period.
However, one of incoming bainisteoir Pat Gilroy’s opening acts in his first couple of weeks in charge of the Boys In Blue was to ensure the talented 25-year-old was involved in his setup and he has succeeded in attracting him back.
Speaking to Pundit Arena in Boston ahead of the Hurling Super 11’s in Fenway Park this weekend where the Dubs take on All-Ireland champions Galway, Sutcliffe gave an exclusive insight into where he is at personally.
“It’s good to be back. I’m lucky to be back involved with Pat.
“It’s only a training panel at the moment, so I’ve to prove to him and prove to myself that I’m able to get back involved with it but I’m enjoying it,” he explained.
On the past success of the Anthony Daly era and particularly that memorable 2013 season, of which Sutcliffe was himself a key component, he had this to say:
“That was a long time ago, I suppose.
“The interesting thing is the 15, 16-year-olds who would have been hanging around when I was playing, now they’re 19, 20 and in contention to get a spot.
“So, I’m getting to know them and the talent is serious there now.”
One thing for sure is, if Sutcliffe is to reach the levels of form he did once produce in blue again in 2018 under Gilroy, the Dubs will be a force to be reckoned with in Leinster and perhaps beyond.
See the full interview below, including words from Gilroy, who takes charge of his first fixture on Saturday.
We caught up with Pat Gilroy and Danny Sutcliffe to discuss the former All-Star's return. pic.twitter.com/Vxw4LlqBU7
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) November 18, 2017