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Dublin v Mayo - GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final

17 September 2017; Brian Fenton of Dublin celebrates following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Brian Fenton hails 'incredible' three-in-a-row

By John Harrington

Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton was bubbling over with joy after helping his team to a third All-Ireland title in a row in Croke Park today.

The classy midfielder agreed there was a real sense of living through history as he and his team-mates rubber-stamped their status as one of the greatest teams in the annals of the game.

“It's incredible, lads, to be honest," said Fenton. "To think that we did three-in-a-row! For me, I came on the senior squad and to be in a match-day panel was the goal. Here we are three years later.

“2014 won an U-21, 2015 senior, '16 senior, '17 senior, so it's just incredible. Jesus, it's just so emotional.

“Seeing your family, all the lads. It's unbelievable. It's worth every sacrifice, every young lad training, it's worth it to get here.

“My dad (Brian snr) is a staunch Kerry man and the Kerry team would have done three-in-a-row and Galway would have done it and it's incredible to think...we don't talk about it to be fair, it's not spoken about, but it's days like now and times like now that you can actually realise how historic it is.

“I obviously didn't see those three-in-a-row teams, I don't know what the hype was around them, but I just feel so lucky to be part of this group of 30 players. It's incredible. It's unbelievable.”

Fenton admitted today’s win was all the more satisfying because Dublin had to really dig deep to chisel it out.

“Yeah, that game was insane,” he said. “Games like that, you obviously don't plan for games like that, you plan for nice controlled game where you might be in the lead or whatever. You talk about scenarios like that.

“To go through the game like that and have it so frantic, score for score, two points down with a few minutes to go.

“And a great goal by Lee Keegan. You know, the momentum completely with Mayo at that stage. And to come back and win it was just unbelievable.”

Brian Fenton and Niall Scully celebrate after Dublin's All-Ireland Final win over Mayo.
Brian Fenton and Niall Scully celebrate after Dublin's All-Ireland Final win over Mayo.

Like many of his team-mates, Fenton struggled to make his presence felt in the first-half.

But once the game opened up in the second following the red-carding of John Small and Donal Vaughan, he and fellow midfielder James McCarthy dominated the middle third.

“Yeah, it opened up a bit definitely,” said Fenton. “I had a poor enough first-half, I don't know what was going on. But, yeah, there seemed to be a bit more space.

“Our transition was a lot sharper I felt and we were getting the ball in a bit easier.

“To be fair to John, he lives on the edge, John Small, and Donal Vaughan is the same. Every player there lives on the edge. We're just so, so happy to get over the line.”

Fenton was keen to pay credit to Mayo for yet another gallant challenge that fell just short, and is convinced they’ll be back to challenge Dublin again in 2018.

“Mayo are unbelievable,” he said. “They speak for themselves. Jesus, you'd feel for them. 2015 drawn game, replay. 2016 drawn game, replay.

“Last year they probably should have beat us in the first game. This year, maybe we'll be thanking our lucky stars that we got over the line and had the lads coming in off the bench.

“Mayo are an incredible team. One to 15, and the couple of subs they have coming on are unbelievable. Testament to them, what a summer they've had.

“I watched them against Derry and Cork on the TV and they were gone. They were able to get extra-time and they just have an incredible belief in themselves.

“I have huge respect for the lads, we'd know them very well. It's always said about Mayo that they will be back, and that's fact, they will be back. We'll have our work cut out against them next year.”

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