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Monday 5 December 2016

Paddy Andrews: Debacle of 2009 led to new Dubs resolve

Andrews cites two Kerry ties that 'made us'

Paddy Andrews, of Dublin, as the Opel Player of the Month for September in football
Paddy Andrews, of Dublin, as the Opel Player of the Month for September in football

PADDY ANDREWS is the GAA/GPA Footballer of the Month ... a satisfying sequel to the sweetest of Septembers.

But while Dublin bask in another victory over the Kingdom, Andrews pinpoints two other Kerry showdowns as pivotal to the development of Jim Gavin's team.

"2009 was the start of it," he says, "but getting over the line in 2011 really gave us that belief that this does work."

Both games happened under Pat Gilroy. If you'll forgive our mixed animal metaphors, Andrews was a corner-back fish out of water in '09 when Dublin mutated into quarter-final 'startled earwigs' and lost by 17 points.

Two years later, the St Brigid's man wasn't even on the bus as Dublin ended 16 years in the wilderness with their famous All-Ireland fightback, having been dropped from the panel.

WATERSHED

Six years older and wiser, Andrews recalls how his pre-match confidence was quickly shattered by the Gooch & Co in 2009.

"It was a real watershed moment for the whole group, not just myself," he recalls.

It came after a 12-point quarter-final mauling by Tyrone in '08.

"When things like that happen it's not just luck, it's not a once-off," Andrews points out.

"There's a real structural change, a real cultural change that you have to make. And, to be honest, Pat and the players were phenomenal in doing that.

"That breakthrough with Pat in 2011 was a huge part of the success that we have now, in creating that culture. And you can see the way Dublin players and Dublin teams carry themselves - it probably has changed a bit over that period."

He agrees that, at times, the old Dublin did get "a little bit carried away" with their own hype, losing focus on "what's really important".

"Pat, and then certainly Jim in his period involved with Dublin, would really have gone back to that. We know what works for us; we know what doesn't work for us," he explains.

Nowadays, Dublin comebacks are far more common than collapses. "That only comes with maybe having those defeats, and really looking and being honest with yourselves," says Andrews.

"We identified things we needed to do that would help us, when the going gets tough. And you've seen numerous times over the last number of years - obviously both games against Mayo this year, that was important. A very scrappy final against Kerry. But that just comes with experience and, as well as that, having that success.

"Winning in 2011 can't be understated, how important that was for the belief of Dublin, because it had been so long."

 

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