Danny Sutcliffe keen for Dublin response after traumatic defeat to Kilkenny

Wing forward says Dublin have to regroup and go again in All-Ireland hurling quarter-final

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe tries to tackle Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley in the Leinster hurling final. Photograph: Inpho

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe tries to tackle Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley in the Leinster hurling final. Photograph: Inpho

 

He did not intentionally reference Sinatra but Danny Sutcliffe, the Dublin hurler, knows the next challenge could define the Anthony Daly era or extend it. Or finish it.

To recover from the traumatic defeat to Kilkenny, victory in Thurles against one of the Goliaths of the sport now looks a necessity.

“If you can’t hurl there, you can’t hurl anywhere,” he said yesterday from the safety of the Hogan Stand.

The Sutcliffe we have grown accustomed to was cloaked in lethargy last Sunday. Every player in front of Dublin’s back seven must face the same charge. Kilkenny sensed it early, acted upon it regularly, and had Dublin skinned and gutted with 30 minutes remaining.

He refused the excuse of injury even though he was clearly not match fit. “My hand was fine.” But he wasn’t right. Daly saw this, and removed his dashing wing forward on 41 minutes.

You offer the quicksand defence, the more you struggle the more you sink.

“No, at half-time we were trying to stay in the present. It felt as if it wasn’t going great but we were only four points down, which isn’t much, especially in hurling. You seen the Galway game and how quickly they pulled it back.

“You try to work your way into it, but it just wasn’t happening. We had to make a change. Conal Keaney as well. For a few of us it just didn’t happen for us.”

So meekly

“I suppose, personally, I’m embarrassed that we pulled out early. Didn’t go well. More so that we let lads down who don’t make the 26.

“Those who are sitting in the stand who we are supposed to do justice. I didn’t do it myself, so disappointed.

“The ’keeper [Alan Nolan] got man of the match so that says something and we still got beaten.

“The backs, Rushey included, they had a good game. Lads just hitting ball after ball in so it was damage limitation. Up front we didn’t contribute at all.”

That’s some honesty.

“Rushey? I thought he had a good game. It was an onslaught really at the back. He had to stop everything. I told him that. Up front we need to work a bit harder.

“You always remember your losses more than your wins, and I won’t forget that for a long time but we just have to pick it up again. There is a lot to work on. Simple stuff like holding the ball.”

And still the season can be salvaged. They have an All-Ireland quarter-final to play in Semple Stadium, possibly against Clare or Tipperary. With the Munster champions waiting in the semi-final.

“We are looking forward. There is an All-Ireland quarter-final, probably in Thurles, to look forward to.”

Dublin will never be taking seriously by the elite of their sport until Thurles is conquered but it doesn’t bother Sutcliffe.

“Championship-wise, I’ve only ever had one big game there and we won. You see Colm Cronin there, he’s used to playing in All-Ireland finals. If you can’t hurl there, you can’t hurl anywhere.”

Floating free

Jackie Tyrrell

“I would always have faith in the system. And you have to if it’s going to work. I’d always back it up. It’s one 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, we didn’t win our own ball.

“I’m not worried anyway. 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.”

The horror of Portlaoise in 2012 is revisited. That was back in the days when the possibility of Kilkenny destroying them (2-21 to 0-9) was always a looming threat.

“It felt like it, anyway. Yeah, just again, win your own ball. It was the same two years ago.”

They came back from that so they can come back from this. “Yeah. We have to.”

Remember that Sutcliffe is still only 22.

“The competitor in you, you’re always going to be disappointed. But the most important thing now is Wednesday night training. 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.”

What does he think Daly will say?

“We make it hard on ourselves alright. But straight away the message was, we’ve got to pick it up and 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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