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Friday 2 December 2016

Fenton: Dream year has yet to fully sink in...

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at the announcement of GAA/GPA’s continuing partnership with Ireland’s largest independent men’s clothing retailer, Best Menswear. Pic: Sportsfile
Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at the announcement of GAA/GPA’s continuing partnership with Ireland’s largest independent men’s clothing retailer, Best Menswear. Pic: Sportsfile

You'd nearly feel sorry for Brian Fenton. Year one as an inter-county footballer: Make league debut for Dublin. Win League title.

Make Championship debut.

Win Leinster title.

Remain in team for summer, effectively keeping a former Footballer of the Year (Michael Darragh Macauley) out of the side.

Win All-Ireland title.

Get official RTÉ Man of the Match Award for performance in final.

Receive first All Star.

Year two?!

"As successful as last year was, this year you're trying to improve and you're thinking, 'I'd love to get a League game or two or three under my belt'," Fenton recalled of his opening track to that notoriously difficult second album.

Fenton underwent surgery on a shoulder injury after last year's All-Ireland final, though he says he counts himself "lucky."

"I sort of came back in March.

"There was two or three League games there in March and I got the fitness back up and you're sort of getting back into training and contact so yeah, you're nervous in a way but everything has gone to plan thankfully.

"There was no setbacks with the bit of an injury.

"I was nervous."

Nerves, you would imagine, are no longer an issue for Fenton, so many massive hurdles did he leap in his debut season .

"When Jim gave me the phone call," he recalls, "I actually thought it was a prank phone call to be honest. I text around asking lads 'do you know this number?'"

The rest, as they often say, is history. Though the Raheny midfielder reckons the magnitude of his maiden year as a Dublin midfielder has yet to fully sink in.

"I'm not sure it has to be honest," he admitted.

"I think, definitely from September onwards, from the All-Ireland final onwards, you're seeing pictures of yourself in the paper and you're wondering 'did that actually happen?'

"But I suppose from January to September you're in that bubble and you can't take your eye off the ball really.

"You have to keep going with the flow and keep working harder.

"I think it was definitely after the All-Ireland when I started looking back and thinking how special it was.

"You know the buzz with the lads afterwards and the celebrations of an All-Ireland final were something I had never experienced.

Surreal

"So looking back around then, it hasn't probably fully sunk in.

"But it was probably around then when I realised this is really happening.

"The initial celebrations afterwards on the pitch.

"Definitely for me, I met my family and it was just that whole surreal feeling of this is something I've worked for and I've achieved it and it was unbelievable, you know?

"It was that initial few moments afterwards on the pitch celebrating in front of the crowd.

“The crowd were soaked to their skins and they were still there cheering you on,” reflects the Raheny man as he prepares for Sunday week’s Leinster final.

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