New-found maturity helps Dublin dynamo Andrews deliver on potential
Published 08/10/2015 | 02:30
To appreciate the highs, you have to experience the lows.
From both Dublin's point of view and his own, Paddy Andrews has seen plenty of troughs so the peaks of the last few weeks are a welcome view.
He's just come through his best year for Dublin. His five-point, five-star performance against Mayo was, he agrees, his best in a senior jersey to date. And it displayed anew maturity in the St Brigid's man.
"For me it was my best game in the championship with Dublin and to do it in such an important game was very nice to do that and be a part of that. Like you say, that was just confidence from the two or three previous games, starting against Fermanagh and the Mayo drawn match.
"I said this before, that if you get into the team, you see guys on the bench that could be playing, that alone gives you huge confidence."
It's only four years since he was told he didn't have enough of the right stuff by Pat Gilroy. Talent wasn't an issue - Andrews had been one of the most lauded underage players of his era - but the application wasn't there.
"It might be easier for guys underage to have success, kick scores, things like that," Andrews says. "College is a step up again but senior is a huge step up. It might take some guys a few extra years to realise that, and for me certainly that was the case.
"When I first came in with Pillar, I'd just turned 19, and expected I could just keep doing what I was doing at underage. But that's definitely not the case. So maybe I learned it the hard way, but I am glad I did it.
"It was 2011, when Pat dropped me off the panel. Obviously it wasn't the ideal year to be dropped, the way things panned out in the end. But I always believed I had the panel and potential to play with Dublin. It was just a matter of being a bit more mature in terms of approach, and work rate, training, and things like that.
"I suppose when you're a young guy, you just need to grow up a little. But I never sat down and thought, 'This was it ... I'll never play for Dublin again'. It was just about working a bit harder, and really buying into the team ethos.
The club campaign is over for Andrews and St Brigid's. The next few weeks will be dominated by rest and recovery but after that, he'll be ramping up for next year and the defence of Sam Maguire.
"We've won four trophies this year, it went very well, and we'll go out and try to defend every one of them next year, starting in January with the O'Byrne Cup.
"It's a huge challenge - I think Kerry in '06 and '07 are the only team that have (defended the All-Ireland) in such a long period of time.
"Look, that's obviously a target for us - we want to try and win the All-Ireland, every year we go out and play, just like a lot of the top teams there.
"We know Mayo, Kerry, Donegal … it's not easy but we'll certainly be giving it a go."