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Former Dublin footballer Barry Cahill, left, and former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley, in attendance at a Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final media event. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

Former Dublin footballer Barry Cahill, left, and former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley, in attendance at a Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final media event. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

Dublin's Barry Cahill, is in possession in the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Dublin, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

Dublin's Barry Cahill, is in possession in the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Dublin, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

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Former Dublin footballer Barry Cahill, left, and former Kildare footballer Dermot Earley, in attendance at a Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final media event. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

PADDY ANDREWS was a groomsman at his brother's wedding on the last day of May. On the first day of June, he was best man in Croke Park as Dublin laid waste to Westmeath.

The Sky Blues' subjugation of a team just promoted from Division Two was not just a collective statement of intent; it was further evidence of Andrews' belated blossoming as a Dublin senior footballer.

Barry Cahill knows Peadar's younger brother better than most. They've been St Brigid's clubmates for years and the 2011 All-Ireland winner only stepped off the inter-county whirligig back in February.

 

CONSUMED

Thus, on the Friday before that Leinster quarter-final against Westmeath, Cahill wasn't consumed by pre-match anxiety attacks as he fulfilled his best-man duties for Stephen Andrews, brother of the aforementioned Dublin footballers, past and present.

"I was best man, and then Paddy and Alan Brogan and Peadar Andrews were three groomsmen. So it was very much a Dublin GAA wedding on the Friday! But it didn't affect Paddy's preparation," Cahill underlines.

The following day's match reports confirm as much.

"We were watching the game with all his relatives, so they were delighted to see him score 1-3 and play so well," says Cahill, who goes on to explain why Paddy Andrews has now become a main man for Dublin after several years spent either moving positions or on the periphery or, worse again, off the panel completely when Sam returned to the Hill.

"It was difficult for a couple of years, because he was corner-back one day, I think he might have played half-back another day, and then he was half-forward or full-forward," notes Cahill, himself an occasional victim of his own versatility.

"Also, I think the O'Byrne Cup campaign did him good this year, because in the last few years he's been tied up with DCU.

"Sometimes when players get three or four games in January, it can give them a boost going into the league," says Cahill.

He goes on: "When Jim Gavin took over, I think Paddy felt this was his chance to try and nail a spot on the Dublin team.

"He would have known Jim from his U21 days and Paddy was coming off the back of two or three years of very good football with the club. I think he knuckled down over the winter."

A case of now or never?

"A new manager coming in, you've got to make a good impression, otherwise you won't be long to be out the door," Cahill bluntly states.

"So it was important for him to start well, and he probably got a couple of opportunities with lads missing ... and in fairness he's taken them."

Having watched the Westmeath game from a post-wedding TV vantage point, this Sunday will be a 'strange' experience for Cahill – back on familiar Croke Park ground for a Dublin championship match, only this time as a fan.

"I don't really miss it too much," he reveals. "I had my 11 years of it with Dublin."

 

RISK

But what does Cahill, the spectator, make of Sunday's looming semi-final date with Kildare?

Is there a risk that the much- touted Dubs could be distracted by bigger All-Ireland goals, especially against opponents who desperately need the here-and-now of a major championship scalp, with the promise of that elusive Leinster title too?

"Kieran McGeeney has done a good job with Kildare over the last few years and has definitely improved them," he replies.

"But for a lot of their newer players and probably for their management as well, they'd love to get a Leinster title under their belt – to try and cement their ideas and their values and where they're bringing Kildare.

"Whereas with Dublin, they've one eye maybe on August. They're not going to obviously say that openly; I think as a player you focus on every match but there is the bigger picture there as well.

"I've seen over the last few years that Dublin have been successful in Leinster campaigns, but have been caught out on the August Bank Holiday weekend, so I think for Dublin that would be a focus behind the scenes."

Peering further into summer, the Brigid's man reckons Gavin may have to "compensate a small bit" on his policy of playing "six forwards who can all score", adding: "You're going to come up against some class forwards in August/September time, so you're probably going to have to try and tighten up a bit defensively there."

First up, though, Kildare.

 

INTERESTING

"The last day against Offaly their half-forward line scored 12 points between them. Dublin have half-backs that like to get forward and create chances and score themselves, so it will be interesting to see how they cope when they're maybe on the back foot," Cahill ventures.

"I'd expect a big improvement from Kildare – from that league game (in March, when Dublin won by 13 points) and also from the Offaly game."

But, when push comes to shove?

"I think Dublin will win. I think Kildare will be very competitive, but I'd see Dublin maybe pulling away in the last quarter.

"They've a huge amount of energy around that middle third, and also with their strength in depth, they have guys to come on and try and get them over the line."


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