It’s rare a rookie makes an impact of such magnitude in their first season, it’s even rarer for a rookie to make their League, Leinster and All Ireland debuts and come away with three winners medals. And an All Star Award thrown into the mix for good measure.
Raheny club man Brian Fenton is still revelling in the events of last year and having already added a second Allianz League title to his CV, there appears to be absolutely no stopping this young gun.
Back in May of last year, the42.ie ran a story on the “8 Young Gaelic Players To Keep An Eye This Summer”.
And topping the list was a young Brian Fenton, who had been a successful graduate from the Under 21 Class Of 2014 who captured the All Ireland Title.
From there, and in a very short space of time, he established himself as a top quality midfielder and forged a special partnership of youth and experience with Dublin veteran Denis Bastick.
From an All Ireland medal winner with the Under 21’s, to being named The Sunday Game “Man Of The Match” in the All Ireland Senior Final a year later is an absolutely massive achievement for any player.
The rapid speed of Fenton’s meteoric rise from a relatively unknown U21 player, to an All Star Senior midfielder, has left the Raheny man still trying to take it all in and it’s easy to understand why he hasn’t fully absorbed the events of last season yet.
“I think it was definitely after the All-Ireland when I started looking back and thinking how special it was.” Fenton told the Evening Herald at the announcement of the GAA/GPA’s continued partnership with Best Menswear.
“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?”
This year was perhaps a slightly slower start, but has come back up to speed very quickly indeed.
“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’.
And he did. Fenton underwent shoulder surgery following last year’s All Ireland Final, returned to the fray as a substitute in Dublin’s Round 2 League game against Monaghan, replacing Emmet O’Conghaile, and hasn’t looked back since.
“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.”
Fenton has already popped some scores over against Donegal and Kerry in the League, and another against Meath in the Leinster Semi. So things are starting to build for the Raheny man just like they did a year ago. He has again reaffirmed his midfield position, and will have others fighting to take that place back if they want it.
What more can the 23 year old Raheny midfielder add to his already stellar reputation remains to be seen, but the memories of his rookie year are sure to wet his appetite for even more success. And what memories they were.
“It was that initial few moments afterwards on the pitch celebrating in front of the crowd.” he said.
“The crowd were soaked to their skins and they were still there cheering you on”.