EIr sport, who are showing a lot of old games at the moment (and god, wasn’t the standard of hurling crap in the past, anything pre the mid 80’s looks like junior hurling), showed the 2013 Leinster final yesterday. It was very interesting to see again. A few things stood out for me
- Keaney is a hurling god!
- Paul Ryan is vastly under rated by many.
- If we get Kelly back to even 50% of what he was, he will be some player.
- Rushe is hugely unorthodox, but however he does it, it works.
But the one thing that stood out most for me was Sutcliffe. He gets unfairly judged due to, what for me, are false perceptions. He was relatively quiet in this game, and if I remember rightly he wasn’t our best forward in either of the preceding Kilkenny games either. He scored a great goal in the replay against Kilkenny and was going well in the game, but he wasn’t the marauding force that he can be. The best county game I ever saw Sutcliffe play was the second half of the Waterford QF the following year. So the idea often mentioned that he faded a bit since 2013 is more perception then reality in my opinion.
If he goes out this year and has quiet games and then a few decent games, I can well see the view as something like, ‘he is showing flashes of what he was, but he can’t do it all the time’ etc. The truth is he never did it all the time, practically no hurler under the age of 25 does. It takes them time to develop the mental side to get right for every game. Sutcliffe’s best days are ahead of him I am sure, and he needs a bit of understanding to be allowed get there.