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Thursday 8 December 2016

Andrews: No talk of three-in-a-row, we simply want to win every game

Pictured at an AIG Skills contest were l-r: Ryan Crotty, Bernard Brogan, Paddy Andrews, Ben Smith, Eoghan O’Donnell, Liam Squire, Reiko Ioane and Liam Rushe. Pic: Sportsfile
Pictured at an AIG Skills contest were l-r: Ryan Crotty, Bernard Brogan, Paddy Andrews, Ben Smith, Eoghan O’Donnell, Liam Squire, Reiko Ioane and Liam Rushe. Pic: Sportsfile

They'll hardly have rung in the New Year before the Dublin footballers are pelted from all sides with non-negotiable resolutions.

Firstly, they could viably fund a new Centre of Excellence by September were they given a euro for every time someone mentions the words 'three in-a-row' in conversation with a Dublin player next year.

And should Jim Gavin's men continue their recently-acquired habit of not losing to Kerry next February in the first League game of 2017, the clock on their unbeaten record will click to 30 and even further towards confirmed greatness.

Plus, there's 13 players in the squad with four All-Ireland medals, meaning they need one more to go clear of every footballer in history, outside those from Kerry.

The big question is whether it's all sustainable? And if so, for how long?

"The attitude and culture that has been created by Jim and the management team and the players who have bought into it," says Paddy Andrews when those questions were put to him.

"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 absolutely not the case now."

Andrews confirms that these seasons take their toll, physically and emotionally.

And that now, after his club year is also complete, he tends to take a complete break from all things of a football nature.

"It's that culture of when we train, we train as hard as we can," the St Brigid's man suggests.

"When we are preparing for our opposition we prepare as best as we can no matter who it is whether it's Longford in the first round of the (Leinster) championship or Mayo in the All-Ireland final.

"The in-depth analysis and the work that goes on behind the scenes from the management team; the players buy into that and it just helps to create this real machine over the last couple of years and that is our biggest strength.

"It's the stuff that the fans or the media mightn't see, but it's that work-rate that goes in and the team comes first across the board.

Mentality

"And if you have that mentality and that culture from everyone you've got a great chance."

They have also mastered the necessary art of muting outside noise, though 2017 will surely build towards a screeching crescendo even Dublin can't ignore, given what's at stake.

"Genuinely, and even this year, I don't think we spoke about two-in-a-row once or back-to-back titles," Andrews shrugs.

"We set out at the start of the year wanting to win the All-Ireland.

"We wanted to win it because we wanted to win it, there was nothing said about creating history or winning back-to-back.

"We wanted to be the best team and I already know for a fact that when we start next year it's going to be about winning every competition we're in, every match we're in.

"If that ends up with three-in-a-row that's great, but it's not something that we'll be promoting to ourselves when we speak inside.

"That's the honest to God truth," Andrews concludes.

"It's just about trying to win each game."

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