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By Cian McKiernan
Danny Sutcliffe is hoping to put the disappointment of Dublin’s relegation behind him as he looks forward to what is sure to be an eventful summer for the 20 year-old.
The Dublin hurlers were demoted from the Division 1A after losing a relegation play-off against Galway (4-21 to 0-19) but Sutcliffe isn’t dwelling on what many see as an unlucky campaign.
“In one way we could have been in a league semi-final if results had gone our way. We lost two games by a point and found ourselves in a relegation play-off. The three matches in Croke Park, even though the results didn’t go our way you can’t fault our performance.”
“It could have gone either way. On Saturday (against Galway) we thought we had the momentum, after getting two men sent off the week before we felt if we got through that we can get through anything. But it wasn’t to be.”
Despite the unhappy end to the league campaign, Sutcliffe isn’t seeing the team’s relegation as a hindrance in the summer’s Championship. Indeed the St. Judes man believes that their relegation may serve to help them.
“We’re back under the radar now. There’s no hype about us. Obviously last year we had won the National League and were on a high and some people said maybe we peaked early. This year we want to be peaking come summer time for the Championship.”
Sutcliffe, who studies BESS in Trinity, broke into the team midway through last year’s Championship , coming on in the quarter final win over Limerick but he found settling into the team easier this year.
“Last year was tough, trying to break into a team that had just won the National League.”
However, he credits his integration into the team to the help from his team mates.
“One person who definitely guided me and gave me their years of experience was Liam Ryan. He helped me out with small bits in training but more importantly with bits off the training pitch that I could improve on.”
He wasn’t fazed by the step up to Senior level but relished the opportunity. “Having watched people like John Gardiner and Tommy Walsh for years on television it felt great to finally pit myself against them.”
He now looks forward to a summer battling for Dublin for both the senior team and the U21s. “We’ve got a good squad and hopefully we can win Leinster and then go on and challenge for the All Ireland because Leinster isn’t enough anymore.”