Tuesday 26 September 2017

Andrews' recovery mission will be fought on two fronts

Dublin's Paddy Andrews at Croke Park, Dublin
Dublin's Paddy Andrews at Croke Park, Dublin
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Paddy Andrews knows better than most the benefit of playing regular league football in the competition's current format.

Build momentum of your own and the season can really open up for you.

Andrews was one of only a few Dublin players to feature in all nine league games in 2013 as they swept to their first title in 20 years.

After a nomadic existence in a Dublin shirt, he had stability at last and it made for his best championship campaign.

But such a schedule of games may have been at a price. Groin trouble began to surface in the early part of the summer and never really left him alone as their season reached a pinnacle.

In the end an operation for Gilmore's Groin (performed by his former St Brigid's club manager Gerry McEntee) was the only solution.

"I think I probably had been putting it off, basically trying to get through last season. I was fortunate enough that I did get to play in the All-Ireland semi-final and final," he recalled.

"It had probably been at me since the start of the summer. I think I came off in the Kildare game; I probably wasn't feeling too great, and I missed the Meath match and the Cork game.

"I think Bernard (Brogan) was saying something similar. It inhibits your training a bit, obviously for big games like that, you want to be at 100pc and if you're not it tends to be shown up because of the pace of the game and how hard the championship has become.

"But after that it was just a matter of when and not if I'd have to get it. So I was operated on in December and fingers crossed... it's all gone well so far, so it shouldn't be too long."

How long? Well, Paddy Andrews doesn't have very long. No Dublin player has.

BREATHING

Alan Brogan is breathing hard down their necks again; Cormac Costello is ranging up into view; Eoghan O'Gara and Dean Rock will be looking for a greater slice of the pie. Conor McHugh could be the bolter in 2014. Can he beat them to the draw?

"That's probably the worrying thing now when you're missing a couple of games, because there is such stiff competition.

"I played in all nine league games which was just (great), coming from my point of view.

"I'd been in and out of the team, and to get that run of games just builds confidence. And obviously when the team is being successful and you're winning games as well.

"But, in all fairness to Jim (Gavin), he's very honest with players.

"If you're playing well and you're in the team, it doesn't matter who is waiting on the bench.

"If you're doing a job, he's not going to take you out of the team, which I think is a great approach to have for the players.

"They know that if they do get a chance and perform, they will hang onto the jersey.

"Please God, I get the opportunity to get back in there at some stage and stake a claim again."

Finding a position he was comfortable with was instrumental in getting the best out of him.

Andrews had played on every other line (except midfield) for Dublin, but full-forward with some liberty to drift out to fulfill a playmaking role suited Andrews perfectly in 2013.

"That's my most natural position and everyone who knows me from my underage career, whether it be Dublin or St Brigid's or college, knows that.

"If you feel more comfortable in a position, you're probably have a better chance of excelling in that spot, and that was certainly the case last year.

"If you get a game anywhere, you'll take it but if you want to perform to the best of your ability you have to nail down a position."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport