RYAN O’DWYER BELIEVES that Dublin’s league-winning hurlers can learn a lot from the youngsters who have made themselves at home in the team this season.
Anthony Daly’s men have already relinquished their hard-earned Division 1 title with just one draw from their opening four games, but a new wave of hurling stars have burst on to the scene to give those around the capital something to smile about.
At wing-forward, 20-year-old Danny Sutcliffe of St Judes has taken the lion’s share of the praise with 2-11 from play and a man of the match performance in the defeat to Cork, but team-mates like Eamonn “Trollier” Dillon and Shane Stapleton aren’t too far behind.
Sutcliffe is “an exceptional character,” O’Dwyer tells TheScore.ie, even if “he’s not right in the head.”
He’s got a cockiness, but in the right manner. He’s very down to earth, very mannerly — most of the time. He’s so driven and so focused, but he’s an absolute headcase.
Despite his age, Sutcliffe has already looked at home against some of the most respected wing-backs in the country, including Kilkenny’s six-time All-Ireland winner Tommy Walsh, whom he breezed past to score in Nowlan Park two weekends ago.
“On the pitch, he leads by example,” O’Dwyer agrees. “He’s just after turning 20 and you wouldn’t think it. We’re learning more off him than he’s learning off us.
He goes out and he doesn’t care who he’s marking. That’s what I mean by cockiness, he doesn’t care who he’s marking. It’s just another match to him and just another player. He goes out and he does the best he can, and it’s really an eye-opener for the likes of myself.
“Trollier is great, he’s just coming into it this year. Shane Stapleton is great; there’s a few people I could mention there.”
The emergence of this talented trio and others is a direct result of Dublin’s decision to focus on improving underage hurling structures in the capital, and O’Dwyer is quick to praise the man whose hand he sees behind it all, county chairman John Costello.
“They weren’t spending any more money than any other county if you look at it per head. All they did was make sure that the structure that was in place was second to none. I got a taste of it last summer when I was involved with the development squads, and it’s absolutely outstanding.
It’s not there was a lot of money spent, it was money spent wisely, there wasn’t a cent wasted. It all comes from John Costello, the county chairman. He’s unbelievable.
- Ryan O’Dwyer is one of the Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camp Ambassadors for 2012. See promotional packs of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies for a unique code which can be used to receive a €5 discount off the fee of €55 for the camps.