Brian Fenton was confirmed as the PwC All-Star Footballer of the Year last Friday with the Dublin lynchpin adding to his All Ireland title at the ceremony, where he saw off fellow contenders from the glorious Dublin team, Ciaran Kilkenny and former winner Jack McCaffrey.
Fenton acknowledged his teammates in the process, and acknowledged a good year, but ever the competitor, also glanced at the areas in which he can improve.
“We have a collective drive but it’s absolutely built on an individual inner drive,” he said. “I’ll look back on the year and I probably didn’t have as successful an All-Ireland Final as I would have liked. Certainly not in that first half.
“There’s always areas to improve. This award is great but it might mask some of the down points of the year. Yeah, there’s certainly always areas to improve on and I’ll go after them in the off-season and try to drive it into the League next year.”
Despite his modesty, Fenton broke the record for the most championship points scored by a midfielder this season, though the news came as a shock to him.
“It’s amazing, I wouldn’t have been aware of that at all,” he said. “That’s it, you always just sit down and look at areas where you can improve and every hurler and footballer is the same and every child growing up is the same.
“You want to get better on your weak foot or weak hand. I watched back games I played last year and there were probably opportunities where I could have taken a shot. Not in a selfish way, but the shot was on.
“That’s something that I tried to work on in the off-season and carry through to the summer. Luckily, yeah, 1-13, I wasn’t counting, but it’s a nice little record to have.
Fenton was joined by Brian Howard, also from Raheny GAA, as the only club represented twice in the All Stars, and took the time to praise the youngster on his progress, too.
“That’s what makes the evening and the event and the award extra-special, to be named alongside Brian,” Fenton said.
“As someone who turned 21 this year he’s been a credit to himself and our club and his family in the way he’s stepped into the role and stayed so mature and humble and grounded.
“I just think he’s an extraordinary guy and it’s great for our little club in Raheny and our little parish to be recognised on the big stage.
“I think we’re the only club to be represented twice in the All-Star team, you couldn’t have dreamt of that at the beginning of the year or even in history. It’s amazing.
“You enjoy it but you’re always conscious of what’s ahead,” he concluded.
“I haven’t written down goals, there’s nothing official, but there are always standards you set yourself. ”