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Friday 19 January 2018

Paddy: Final too close to call

St Vincent's v Ballymun Kickhams Monday, Parnell Park, 7.0)

Ballymun Kickhams’ John Small holds off St Brigid’s Lorcan McCarthy during the Dublin SFC
quarter-final at Parnell Park. Pic: Garrett White
Ballymun Kickhams’ John Small holds off St Brigid’s Lorcan McCarthy during the Dublin SFC quarter-final at Parnell Park. Pic: Garrett White

Paddy Andrews doesn't have a dog in the fight.

And yet every time he considers Monday's re-acquaintance of Dublin's most endearing rivals and his football brain constructs an argument for Ballymun Kickhams, he finds equal sense in backing St. Vincent's.

"They're the two most consistent teams over the last number of years," he points out.

"Vinnies obviously have had more success. Ballymun, you would have thought they would have won more than they have.

"But you look at the spine of their team, they're just very strong."

Diarmuid Connolly of St Vincent’s in action during the Dublin SFC match against Na Fianna at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly of St Vincent’s in action during the Dublin SFC match against Na Fianna at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile

In the Dublin SFC quarter-final, Andrews' St Brigid's took a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after just seven minutes and yet lost by eight to a Ballymun team pulling up.

"We went out looking for a fast start to catch them on the hop," the four times All-Ireland medallist confirms.

"It was the first game after the Dublin lads coming back.

"Obviously it was going to affect them more than us, I was the only Dublin player (at Brigid's).

"But they showed their maturity as a team, they just strangled the game without doing anything spectacular, it was that experience and know how and that's where the guys come in; James and Philly and Smally.

"They've real leadership there and experience and they've gotten better from that performance."

Like most, Andrews sees it as "a really tight one to call."

"It obviously depends on injuries," he points out. "Ballymun obviously have a couple of key guys who are under pressure to get back in."

"I think they might nick it," he offers, "but then you wouldn't be surprised because of the experience that Vincents have.

"Similar to Ballymun they're very controlled, they've been there, they've done it, they're not going to panic.

"I think it's going to be a really close game, a full house, a great crowd, and everyone is looking forward to it."

It's been a funny-peculiar year for Andrews in club terms.

In January, as he sunned himself on a beach in Jamaica on Dublin's team holiday, a document was leaked online which amounted to a sort of contract of agreement between the St Brigid's management and the players.

On it were 17 bullet points which, combined, made up a code of conduct.

"Look, I think as a club, the reasoning behind that and why we would engage in something like that, was because you just want to make sure everyone is committed and on the same page," Andrews reasoned.

"I'm sure if you went around every club around January time, there'd be something along those lines."

Context is everything, of course. And the Brigid's contract mini controversy lacked that mitigating ingredient.

"Signing contracts? I don't know. That's not, personally, something that I'd be really into it," Andrews concedes.

"But the reasoning behind it was a good one, it was a positive, we were trying to get everyone on the same page.

"I think we had a reasonably good year as a club. We performed well in the league, and pushed Ballymun.

"Unfortunately their experience and class told. It's been bad and good but the reasoning behind it was positive and that's probably the thing to look at, for the club.

Andrews adds: "We're just trying to become a better team and a better club."

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