Dublin forward Paddy Andrews was in danger of becoming a nearly man of the inter-county scene.
Instead, the Allianz League medallist reached a crossroads in his career last winter, according to clubmate and ex-Dublin player Barry Cahill, and knuckled down to find his best form.
Cahill and Andrews claimed a Dublin title together with St Brigid’s in 2011. But he couldn’t nail down a regular county spot until Jim Gavin took over this year.
An ever present throughout the Allianz League, Andrews has been the biggest winner so far in the Gavin era and is expected to line out against Westmeath this weekend.
In fact, former All Star Cahill predicted Andrews will be ‘an important player’ for Dublin in their bid to regain the Sam Maguire Cup.
“When Jim got the Dublin job, I think it was a case of now or never for Paddy,” said Cahill, who retired himself just last February. “He either had to do it [this year] or else he’d be back with the club for the rest of his career and people would have been talking about this great potential that he had.
“Nobody wants to have that tag. Since last October, he’s been constantly in the gym and he’s injury free which is a big thing for him as well.”
Cahill admitted it’ll be bittersweet for himself this weekend. He retired after being restricted to a bench role in 2012. After playing a key role in the 2011 All-Ireland win, he said the team suffered from complacency last year.
“I think there’s an element of complacency there somewhere — it only takes five per cent for you to be off your game,” he added.
“If the hunger isn’t there from the year before it has an effect. Last year, we had a few different injuries as well, guys like Alan Brogan, key players, weren’t really available. We stumbled through the league and just didn’t fire. Then we got caught out in August.”
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