Andrews admits to feeling heat of full-forward line furnace
Paddy Andrews wants to make the most out of whatever amount of time he has left in his county career, acknowledging that there may not be many years left for him.
After losing his way under Pat Gilroy and missing the 2011 All-Ireland win Andrews has made up for lost time with significant contributions in all three successes since.
But the clock is ticking and at 28, in such a competitive environment as the Dublin full-forward line where Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello and Con O'Callaghan are applying such heavy pressure, Andrews knows he is as vulnerable as anyone.
The St Brigid's clubman missed much of the summer through injury but came off the bench in the All-Ireland final when James McCarthy was shown a black card and kicked two inspiring scores. After avoiding defeat in their last 29 games Andrews accepts they will "probably" lose a game at some stage but says the challenge is to "strike while the iron is hot.
"We've got great players and a young enough team. We're probably not going to lose too many guys I'd imagine between now and January," Andrews said.
"It's just about trying to push on again and make the most of it, because you won't have too many years left, for me anyway. I'm 28 so we want to win as much as we can while we're still there."
He accepted the battles they have been in over the last two years especially have taken a physical and mental toll, emphasising the need for proper rest now. "You kind of find the older you get as well. I think I've played eight or nine years with Dublin and it is hard. It's difficult and the pressure that comes with it.
"If you look at our All-Ireland finals over the last four or five years, we haven't really played our best. By that stage of the season there's so much tension and you've nine months behind you, you're nearly hitting the wall.
"We played Donegal, we played Kerry and Mayo twice. It terms of trying to win an All-Ireland that's as hard really as it gets.
"And even the two Mayo games, any time we play them it's just so intense. We tend to probably bring the best out of them and we know when they come up against us it's probably going to go to the wire. It does take a lot out of you physically and mentally and that's why it's so important now when you get the break to enjoy it and relax and let the body recharge."
Still, after missing so much action Andrews is eagerly looking forward to 2017 and trying to get a headstart in that full-forward line.
"I'm already itching to play O'Byrne Cup games because I know I want to get back in and get re-established," he said at last night's AIG gathering with the visiting All Blacks.
"That's the challenge. It's a great position for the management team to be in, where every game matters and every time a guy gets a nod, whether it's for 10 minutes or you're starting the game, you want to perform and you have to perform because if you don't, you just won't get the nod the next day.
"That attitude and culture that has been created by Jim [Gavin] and the management team and the players who have bought into it. Every single game matters. There is no game where it is 'oh we'll take this handy, it's only a League game'. That mentality may have been there years ago with Dublin but it's absolutely not the case now."