Dean is the People’s Choice

by Stephen Findlater
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COLLINSTOWN’S Dean Carpenter landed the People’s Choice Star of the Year award at last Thursday night’s Dublin Gazette Newspapers Dublin Sports Awards following a remarkable run of form both on the individual and club front.

He was a clear winner of the public vote as the people of Clondalkin got behind their man, topping the poll ahead of the likes of Conor McGregor, Kenneth Egan and Olympian Annalise Murphy.

The Republic of Ireland amateurs international has been a stalwart of Collinstown’s meteoric rise to fame since signing six years ago at the age of just 17.

Since then, he has achieved promotion in each season, helping the club rise to the AUL’s Premier A while the side has reached four cup finals along the way.

And this year, the club has gone into uncharted territory by reaching the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup where they will play Limerick’s Ballynanty in Jackman Park on April 12.

Speaking to GazetteSport about that tie, Carpenter said that his side has no fear having defeated Pike Rovers as well as NUI Galway, Mervue United and Sligo’s Strand Celtic.

“They’ve gotten to the semi-finals so credit is due to them. But we’re going down there not worrying. We will be ready and it will be anyone’s game.

“They are one of the top side in Limerick and have the advantage of the home draw but we will bring a big travelling support so that will be a big bonus.”

To that end, the fledgling club have galvanised a huge amount of local support that has grown in every game they have hosted in the Junior Cup.

“At the moment, I think Collinstown is the number one club in Clondalkin and the support over the last season – every game it seems to be bigger and bigger attendance.

“I think there was near enough to a thousand at the game against NUI Galway; I think there was only 700 at the St Pat’s game against Limerick on the Saturday so it just goes to show.

“The whole schoolboy section looks up to the seniors. There’s not many clubs around Ireland like that; it’s more senior being separate to the junior but, with Collinstown, it’s all one.”

It is not just with Collinstown that he has shone of late. In the wake of the Gazette award, he helped the AUL’s representative side defeat the Donegal Junior League on penalties and will now meet the Clare league in the Oscar Traynor Cup final.

Should they win that, it will be the first time any league has won the title on four successive occasions. Carpenter has been part of all four runs, just one of two players to do so in the current set-up alongside Jonathan Meleady.

He is also part of the 30-player Leinster/Munster selection that will hope to beat Connacht/Ulster for the right to represent Ireland at the UEFA Regions Cup.

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