'Full steam ahead' for Andrews after back injury scare
Published 21/07/2016 | 02:30
Paddy Andrews has declared himself fit for the All-Ireland series, having been reduced to substitute appearances in each of Dublin's last two championship appearances.
The St Brigid's man emerged as one of Dublin's key men in the run to last year's All-Ireland title but managed just over 20 minutes against Meath in their Leinster semi-final clash and a half of the victory over Westmeath after recovering from a back injury sustained in the league semi-final against Donegal.
And while he admits the injury was tricky to solve, Andrews insists he is ready to help Dublin in their bid to retain the Sam Maguire for the first time since 1977.
"It was just a little niggle that carried on for a few extra weeks but I worked with the physios and, thank God, I'm fine now," said Andrews (right) at the announcement that Life Style Sports are Dublin GAA's new retail partner.
"If you can't really play to your optimum, you are not really available for selection. But the last four weeks have been really good. I have a good bit of training under the belt, so it's full steam ahead for the next challenge."
Andrews may be back fit but a question mark hangs over James McCarthy.
"James is a real quality player - the form he has been in throughout this season especially, and even last season. He is a real leader and is a key player for us," said Andrews.
"It's great that his injury is only a bit of a bang and hopefully he will be back to full fitness in a couple of weeks.
"It wasn't as bad as was initially feared, which was great because, having lost Jack (McCaffrey) and Rory (O'Carroll) you don't want to lose anybody else.
While the issue of goading has dominated the post-Leinster final discussion in the wake of Diarmuid Connolly's clash with James Dolan, Andrews stressed that such incidents were part of the game for almost everyone.
"It's always been around. It's always been around the big games," he said.
"And it's not just Dublin. It's across the board. It's not only Diarmuid who gets rough treatment.
"It seems to be getting a lot of attention because of what happened last Sunday. But it's nothing new.
"It's just part and parcel of the game. We don't see it as a big deal, to be honest."