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Are Dublin hurlers about to unleash a huge attacking star this summer?

Dublin’s Mark Schutte is tipped to take the 2015 championship by storm.

Mark Schutte has been superb for Dublin this year.
Mark Schutte has been superb for Dublin this year.

DUBLIN’S HURLERS BOAST an array of attacking firepower ahead of this summer’s championship.

Paul Ryan, David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan and David Treacy are renowned score-getters, with Ryan O’Dwyer providing abrasive ball-winning ability in the half-forward line.

Liam Rushe has also been converted into a forward by manager Ger Cunningham after winning an Allstar award at centre back but the ace in the Sky Blue pack in championship 2015 could well turn out to be Mark Schutte.

A 2012 All-Ireland U21 football medallist, Schutte has also collected Leinster hurling titles at U21 and senior level.

But after injury blighted his progress in 2014, the Cuala hitman returned to full fitness and found a rich vein of form during this year’s Allianz League campaign.

Mark Schutte Cuala clubman Mark Schutte is in a rich vein of form. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A product of Dalkey CBS, 23-year-old Mark used to cheer for Kilkenny as he is related to current Cats panellist Joey Holden, and former defender Brian Hogan.

For a number of months in 2011, he was a member of Dublin’s All-Ireland winning senior football squad but the favoured game at Schutte’s club Cuala is hurling and that’s where his heart lies.

The presence of Mark’s brother and corner back Paul in the Dublin hurling camp was also a key factor in his decision to focus solely on the small ball at senior intercounty level.

Having collected a total of five points in Dublin’s first two League games in 2015 (two against Tipperary and three in the historic Nowlan Park victory over Kilkenny), Schutte was held scoreless in the Croke Park defeat to Cork.

Mark Schutte tackles Cian McCarthy The only League game in which Mark Schutte failed to score was against Cork at Croke Park. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

But the prolific attacker responded with a run of 2-16 in his next four games, sparked by a 0-3 haul in the Cusack Park loss to Clare.

Schutte turned up the heat against Sunday’s championship opponents Galway, clipping over five points from play, before reserving his best display of the season to date in the impressive League quarter-final victory against Limerick at GAA HQ.

Schutte posted 1-5 to help floor the Shannonsiders and even though Dublin were beaten by Cork in the last four, he finished with a personal tally of 1-3, including this brilliant goal (go to 26 seconds):

Source: officialgaa/YouTube

Rushe, Dublin’s co-captain this year, has been mightily impressed by what he’s seen from Schutte.

“I’ve been tipping him for a couple of years.

“Last year was a nightmare for him with the first ball in the first game and he dislocated his shoulder (against Wexford).

“I don’t want to put another curse on him. He’s a fantastic player.

“He’s pretty much unmarkable on his day. He’s 6’ 3” or 4 and lightning quick and somehow turns as quick as Dotsy too.

“He’s a handful and gives Peter Kelly an awful time at training. That’s his problem, not mine anymore because I’m not back there and that’s grand!”

Liam Rushe Liam Rushe is a big fan of teammate Mark Schutte.

Cuala clubmate Cian O’Callaghan says that Schutte is “a joy to watch” when he’s on top form.

“He’s always been brilliant. There is always that potential in him.

“Anyone who saw him when he was younger, it was blatantly obvious that that potential was there.

“He’s really coming into his own now. He’s just a joy to watch.

“He’s a great addition to the forward line. He’s powerful, he’s pacey, he’s good in the air.

Cian O'Callaghan with Jason Forde Cian O'Callaghan says that his clubmate Mark Schutte is a joy to watch. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“He adds another dimension to the whole thing.

“Last year, he got injured in the first match and that really put an end to his whole Championship.

“So, I suppose he’s looking to make amends this year. But he’s really playing good hurling this year.”

Tale of the tape – Mark Schutte’s Allianz Hurling League scoring stats:

0-2 v Tipperary

0-3 v Kilkenny

0-0 v Cork

0-3 v Clare

0-5 v Galway

1-5 v Limerick

1-3 v Cork

Total: 2-21

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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