Saturday 22 October 2016

Dublin midfield maestros heap praise on 'brilliant' and 'effective' Fenton

Brian Fenton
Brian Fenton

OF the three 'bolters' in Jim Gavin's first Championship selection of 2015, Brian Fenton was easily the most leftfield.

John Small had a previous - albeit brief - incarnation as a Dublin senior and fitted the suit of a 'holding' centre-back.

Davy Byrne was this year's Dublin Under 21 captain and a former All-Ireland minor winning captain and his ascension to the seniordom was something of an inevitability.

Fenton though, didn't play minor but won an Under 21 All-Ireland last year.

And maybe, given Jim Gavin's reliance on Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O'Sullivan - and after a year in which Denis Bastick featured so regularly on the Dublin manager's injury bulletins - his rise shouldn't be considered so unexpected.

"Brian's a super player," says Macauley who, essentially, was left out of that aforementioned selection against Longford in favour of the Raheny player.

"He's come up through the underage ranks and earned his start with Dublin. He hasn't just been thrown in there ... very talented, off two feet. Able to kick scores and get around the pitch.

"He's a brilliant player for us to have.


"He's excelled himself, from the start of this year through the league campaign. He's a brilliant asset to have."

The surprise, perhaps, is that Fenton has overshot the claims of two players of similar age and style in Emmet Ó Conghaile and Shane Carthy.

And given Macauley's involvement in Fenton's immediate prospects, a less compromised assessment of Fenton's abilities and prospects comes from his former club manager, Ciarán Whelan.

"He's gone into the League team this year and what impressed me was, it's hugely intimidating to make your debut for Dublin over a period of time and he kept it very simple," Whelan, who managed the Raheny seniors when Fenton broke through, explained.

"He didn't over-complicate things, he didn't go for scores and he's been naturally progressing and growing into the role and gaining more confidence and playing very well in training.

"If you were to look back at the Dublin-Longford video he was very, very effective.

"And in the League final against Cork, very effective, and I've heard that he's going very well in training.

"He's pushing Michael Darragh Macauley all the way which is a good thing for Dublin," Whelan adds of an area in which Dublin haven't been particularly well endowed of late.

"It adds competition for places and I see him being a very, very effective player into the future for Dublin.


"As I said, he's not known now but I think he will be by the end of the year."

"One of the reasons he suffered was he had a couple of bad knee injuries and he missed a couple of years.

"He has the capability of playing midfield, half-forward or even full-forward at club level so he has that bit of versatility.

"Some of the question marks I would have had over him in terms of his work rate," Whelan adds, highlighting an area for improvement.

"But he's been fantastic so he's learning and growing into the game all the time.

"He's still only 22 years of age.

"I think he's going to be a key player for Dublin this year," the former All Star concludes.

"And if I was to hazard a bet for Young Player of the Year, I wouldn't hesitate."

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