Fenton relishing Dublin return
By Cian O'Connell
With inter-county action now only one month away, Brian Fenton is delighted to be getting ready for the remainder of 2020.
Having enjoyed a productive stint with Raheny, the Dublin midfielder is optimistic ahead of the return of the Allianz Football League ahead of a knockout Championship.
"We are in tonight, we are on the pitch tonight, so I'm looking forward to that now," Fenton says. "Back tonight on the pitch, don't know what it is going to look like, hopefully it isn't a fitness test of some sort, but we will see.
"I can't imagine because Bryan Cullen has been good to us. Anytime we come back from a break he tends to ease us in a bit more than any fitness tests or anything. We are back tonight.
"I know a couple of lads are still in with their clubs in the A Championship, B Championship, and hurling. I don't know in terms of numbers what is going to be there, but just keen to get back. To get back with the lads is the exciting part."
In a year like no other with the Covid pandemic, Dessie Farrell has been forced to cope with drastically altered circumstances.
"I can't imagine it was ideal for him doing out his check list or whatever, his goals or milestones for the year," Fenton admits.
"Certainly nobody anticipated what went on or what is going on. We are fortunate in many ways. I think he had a period of time to maybe take a breath, particularly after the League, after being thrown into the League, we all were, to take a breath, to go to watch club games, to see what talent is out there.
"Maybe, and I haven't spoken to him on it, that it was a good thing for him and the management team in general. It certainly wasn't part of the plan, but all systems go now for the Championship, hopefully."
The do-or-die element of the upcoming competition provides another layer of intrigue according to Fenton.
"I'm really excited for it," Fenton replies. "It's so different. From my inter-county experience, I've been used to the League period, you've a club month in April, then it's prep for the summer.
"That's been a routine calendar for the last few years. Years ago, there was straight knockout. And that's the exciting thing from my point of view, for us that you could be sent to any stadium in Ireland potentially, you could be playing any team in Ireland that comes through the province, whatever team comes through the province, and it's just going to be straight knockout.
"Maybe in the Super 8s over the last few years, you might get away with a poor performance, or a poor result or whatever it is. But that opportunity isn't there this year.
"So we're really going to have to be focused on every game, and every opposition because as you say it's straight knockout.
"There's no point in getting ready now to be knocked out and taking games for granted, and be knocked out in early rounds. That certainly won't be in our plans, hopefully."
In the demanding months of lockdown when competitive football was merely a hope, how hard was it to maintain sporting preparations?
"It was tough to retain focus during that time," Fenton responds.
"But still, it’s sort of built into your habits and your DNA, like I know no different than going training a couple of times a week for my whole life.
"In terms of thinking about an inter-county season, when it would be, it was challenging, but it’s human nature for me to be out training whether it’s running sessions, yoga sessions, out the back with the ball, carrying the ball around the house.
"Just the smallest little things will always add to your game I think, it has ebbed and flowed during the summer but having come through the club stuff now, the excitement of games and meeting the players and having close games has really fuelled the motivation in me.
"I think that’s the common consensus among the lads too, that the club stuff has been great and let’s give it a lash now for the inter-county season."