Andrews determined to deliver for Dubs once again after brilliant Brigid's displays grab Gilroy's attention
GIVEN the efforts of St Brigid's over a long, arduous autumn and winter, it was encouraging to see so many of their troop involved in last Sunday's Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars challenge at Kiltipper Road.
With 10 players having garnered awards in their successful Dublin Senior Football Championship campaign, another fixture, coming on the back of their Leinster final disappointment a fortnight ago, must have seemed as welcome as turkey leftovers on New Year's Day.
However, their participation on the day and their efforts in taking Dublin to the wire reflected superbly on their character and ability.
It was the presence of another St Brigid's clubman that generated most interest, as Paddy Andrews returned to the county colours with a typically lively and industrious performance at the heart of the Dublin attack.
Andrews has long been recognised as one of the finest attacking talents in the county but has experienced a frustratingly stop-start career at inter-county level, with his presence at corner-forward last Sunday suggesting a new chapter for the versatile player.
"Last year didn't go according to plan and I probably didn't play as well as I could in the earlier part of the year, so it's always nice to get a call to come out.
"Hopefully, I can prolong it and get a few games further into the year, although there's a lot of work to be done between now and then.
"This is the first year where I'm not involved with the college (DCU) for the O'Byrne Cup. I'm available to play and I'll just have to see with guys away with their colleges or on holidays.
"It would be great to go back and play for Dublin as that has always been my ambition, so hopefully I can do that next week (against Carlow in O'Byrne Cup) and further into the year," said Andrews.
How difficult a task it will be to cement a place in the All-Ireland champions team is not lost on Andrews, who is more than aware of the quality ingrained in the panel. The confidence derived from last summer's success will only stiffen that task.
"The Dublin panel has always been very competitive and the underage teams in recent years have added to that," he said. "Whether guys are injured or away, there are always plenty of other guys chomping at the bit to get their name in the frame.
"There's always competition for places so you can be sure we'll have a strong enough team out next week, irrespective of all the absences."
With St Brigid's having impressed all and sundry en route to county glory, it was perhaps inevitable that Pat Gilroy's spotlight would shine brightly on some of the Blanchardstown men, and the benefit of senior championship success has earned Andrews a recall to Dublin's consciousness.
"At the time we were very much focused on winning the county championship. Once we got out of Dublin we would have fancied our chances to do well in Leinster as Dublin teams have traditionally done well at this level.
"It's just very unfortunate that we lost the way we did and it added to our disappointment but we have a great incentive to get back there now.
"We lost the county final to Kilmacud the previous year but our unity as a team helped us recover from that this year.
"We've a young group of lads at Brigid's and we did very well to get over the line in Dublin. Hopefully, we'll get another opportunity later this year and rectify what happened against Garrycastle last Sunday fortnight."
For now, Andrews' attentions will focus on Dublin and the infamous training schedule associated with the side holds no fears, despite his elongated club campaign.
"To be honest, I feel grand and I'm very much looking forward to it.
"I didn't really do too much last year and probably had the summer off so I'm raring to go. The confidence I've gained from playing and winning with the club has helped me a lot and hopefully I can carry that on.
"We'll see what happens in the next couple of months with Dublin. I've just got to go out and prove myself all over again and that's my goal," concluded Andrews.