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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Andrews the hidden gem of Dublin's impressive attacking options

Dublin forward Paddy Andrews. Pic: Sportsfile
Dublin forward Paddy Andrews. Pic: Sportsfile

"If you put him into Mayo," says Barry Cahill of his St Brigid's club-mate Paddy Andrews, "he'd be the main man."

It's a difficult case to argue against.

A bit like Cahill's assertion that Andrews is perhaps "still a small bit under-rated outside of Dublin".

This week, the main characters in the conversation about Dublin's attacking strength have been Con O'Callaghan, Ciarán Kilkenny and Paul Mannion.

Will Diarmuid Connolly start? Paul Flynn perhaps?

There is a chance, we've all heard, that Bernard Brogan may not get any time off the bench.

There is an argument to be made too that Eoghan O'Gara's form and his record against Mayo is cause for more minutes tomorrow than he has been given by Jim Gavin this year.

So it is a sign of Andrews' quiet efficiency that firstly, he hasn't figured in too many analytical discussions but also, no-one has suggesting dropping him.

"People might not see him as someone who shoots the lights out but he's a bit of an all-rounder," says Cahill.

"He can be a link man, he can be a target man. He has an eye for goal and he's brilliant at taking points off either foot.

"The thing I like about him is, when he receives the ball, he doesn't need to hop or solo it.

"He's able to just take the score, which obviously limits the scope for the defender to get a block or tackle in."

At 29, Andrews is going for his third All-Ireland tomorrow.

Dropped

At 23, he was dropped from the Dublin squad before their breakthrough success in 2011.

'"He took it hard," Cahill explains of the aftermath of Pat Gilroy's decision to ditch Andrews as part of his post-league final cull.

"I think he told me he just watched the game in the sitting room by himself.

"We won the All-Ireland obviously and everything that goes with that.

"It was a tough time for him, definitely. Because he was on a crossroads in his career.

"It hadn't taken off. He'd played in a number of positions at that stage for Dublin," says Barry.

"Pat actually brought him back into the squad in 2012, but it was really Jim's appointment that gave him a bit of pep in his step. Because he'd worked with Jim at under-21 level and Jim was fond of him.

Mentor

"Also Declan Darcy coming in. Declan would be a bit of a mentor for Paddy in that he would have touched off him a number of times and they would have had a really good relationship.

"So I think 2013, he just decided it was now or never. That he wasn't going to get another chance if he blew it under Jim. His inter-county career would have been over," adds Cahill.

Instead, Andrews has become an unmovable force in a Dublin attack bursting with options.

Occasional injuries aside, the St Brigid's man has become one of Jim Gavin's most trusted players.

"He probably knuckled down a bit more," Cahill notes.

"That comes with age and maturity anyway."

Andrews' versatility has helped him, too.

"He's a really good fella to have in the panel but the fact that he can play all six attacking positions does benefit him," Cahill points out.

Questions

"And nowadays with players and systems and everyone interchanging, I think he asks the opposition defenders a lot of questions.

"I would have liked to have seen him get a bit more game-time in the semi-final, to be honest," hel adds. "I think he was withdrawn after 40 minutes and he kicked two really good scores into he Hill," adds Cahill.

"The game was opening up that bit more. I think Paddy could have wracked up 1-4 or 1-5.

"But he's an unselfish player as well.

"He's always looking to give the ball to someone in a better position.

"And," Cahill concludes, "that's paramount if you're playing under Jim Gavin."

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