Dublin hurling coach Anthony Cunningham has confirmed Cuala’s Mark Schutte has opted to commit to the footballers for a second season in a row.
As was reported last week, four of the back-to-back All-Ireland senior club champions have made themselves available to hurling manager Pat Gilroy this year: Jake Malone, Cian O’Callaghan, club hurler of the season Seán Moran, and David Treacy.
As well as Schutte, Con O’Callaghan is focusing on the county footballers’ attempt to claim a fourth consecutive All-Ireland title, while Darragh O’Connell is taking a break and Colm Cronin will soon be in Africa as part of his medical studies. Paul Schutte is a long-term injury casualty and Oisín Gough is unavailable.
“Pat, in fairness to him, would have spoken to practically them all,” said Cunningham. “There are guys with some niggles and injuries, and Paul Schutte has a long-term injury, unfortunately.
"That (the four players) is what we have secured from Cuala. They’ve been tremendous champions. Everyone naturally would love to see Con playing or Mark playing, but they’ve chosen the football route for this year.”
Cunningham agrees the structure of the club season may have worked against one or two Cuala players joining the Dublin group.
“Yes. We’d have seen that in other counties, as well, that when you get a very, very strong club team... and it happened with Portumna for years in Galway, and Galway maybe have suffered as a result. Guys were tired, as well, and they went for a couple of All-Irelands.
Even Kilkenny: Players with Ballyhale and others, they would be tired coming back off it, because you have to train very hard for the winter. I think it, hopefully, will change, in that if it finishes in the one season that will help clubs and counties and they’ll get a break.
“It was easier probably for Cuala, because they had won the All-Ireland, but for Na Piarsaigh it’s extremely hard, so it happens in all quarters but, yeah, if they can finish them in the one calendar year that would help.”
Cunningham hasn’t lost hope Con O’Callaghan could play hurling for Dublin in the future.
“Con is obviously trying to establish himself on the Dublin football team as well, so I can see his concern is to nail that down, but hopefully, in a year’s time or two years’ time or three years’ time… you’d never say no, particularly with a guy as level-headed as Con, because he should be able to carry both.”