Kenny Labels Mark Schutte As A Huge Asset

Mark Schutte

Cuala star Mark Schutte has not played inter county hurling since 2016

Mark Schutte

Sunday’s Walsh Cup encounter between Dublin and Westmeath may not have set the world on fire. But it’s the first tick in the win column for Mattie Kenny and his side. And then can finally move on from their shock defeat to Laois in the summer, sending them out of the All Ireland at the first hurdle.

But Dublin’s win over the midlanders will hold quite a lot of significance for at least one big reason. Supporters were truly thrilled to finally see the return of Cuala’s Mark Schutte as he played the entire game. His first since Dublin lost to Cork in an All Ireland qualifier in Pair Ui Rinn in July 2016.

It was the last time Schutte played for then boss Ger Cunningham. And since his two huge years winning back to back All Ireland Club Championships with Cuala, switching allegiances and joining the ranks of Jim Gavin’s Football panel for two seasons, topped with an injury thwarted 2019, he hasn’t played a minute of hurling for Dublin.

Schutte sat out all of this year’s league action with a persistent foot injury. And just when he was finding his stride again, pushing for a place in the side, he suffered another setback.

Unlucky injuries extend Schutte’s absence

“Mark is a very professional guy.” Kenny told the Independent.

“Since I’ve been with him, he’s had a couple of unfortunate injuries but he gets back in there and gets it sorted out and he’s very diligent on his rehab”.

“We had him back going well in that March/April time, and unfortunately he came down on the ground and dislocated his shoulder so he had to have another operation again”.

If there’s one thing about Mark, he’s always had a sensible head on his shoulders. And while he may not be up to full pelt, all he’ll want to do now is prepare for 2020 and do his best to stay injury free.

“Over the course of a career you’d expect it all to level out”. Kenny continued.

“The last few years were fragmented enough for him – but when he’s fit and playing well he’s a huge asset. We’ve got to get him back to that”.

Kenny admitted that Mark was “anxious to get a run-around.”

“What great value for a hurler in December, you know? But for him it was great to go out and get 70 minutes under his belt”.

“Mark says it himself, fitness-wise and hurling-wise, he’s not sharp at the moment. But for the year 2020, our aim is trying to get our squad healthy and injury-free and the hurling will come along again”.