GAA Football

Dublin star Brian Fenton happy that games have been delayed - for now

Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton (right) admits he's enjoyed the delay in return to League action.
Pic Philip Walsh

HAVING been desperate for the GAA to get games going last year, Dublin star Brian Fenton admits he's content with the ongoing delays over a 'return to play'.

The newly-crowned Footballer of the Year for 2020 has been enjoying the break from training, pointing out that the planned resumption of the National Football League this month would have been hard on him and his county colleagues.

"For the time being I'm happy enough, because it [the Championship] ran so late last year up until the week of Christmas," said the Raheny clubman.

"Usually it ends in September or whatever, if we're lucky enough to get to the final, and we have that three-month rest period for the body and for the mind. So I'm happy enough for the time being.

"It would have been tough maybe to flip it around, finish at Christmas and then re-start it again [training] for league games in January.

"Dessie [Farrell] would have put a plan in place for that, maybe rested a few lads or whatever, but that would have been tough, so for the time being it's nice to get a break, truth be told."

Fenton acknowledged that the uncertainty can be unsettling, and he worried about missing out on a season in the prime of his career last year:

"It's confusing; obviously Paul Flynn, the GPA, the GAA, they are trying to put a roadmap in place to time it appropriately, but they don't know, they are only getting word second-hand or whatever.

"The longer it goes on the more you are sort of saying 'Right come on, can we push on? I'm losing time here.' That was a big thing for me last year, I was thinking 'If I miss a year, I'm 27, this is the peak period of GAA footballing life.'

"So the longer it goes on I'll definitely be keen to get back, maybe the end of this month or into March and stuff like that."

The removal of inter-county GAA's status as 'elite' has been controversial, although there has been speculation that it will be re-instated in the 'Living with Covid' document to be considered by the Irish government this week.

However, Fenton accepted that public health considerations must take priority, saying: "Yeah, it's confusing. Obviously last year there was the whole elite thing and now we're not elite, and that's fair enough because you can see the movement of 5,000 people across the country playing Gaelic games will only create potential risks.

"They ran it very well last year, so you can sort of say 'Why couldn't that be the case again?', but I'm not an epidemiologist or a virologist. Yeah, I'll be keen to get going whenever it gets going again, but for the time being I'm happy enough."

Indeed he's been enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle recently, albeit with fitness work still factored in, sometimes instigated by Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton:

"You take downtime, but you try doing little bits as well - you try do little bits of runs and any bit of gym work maybe you can do... Stephen Cluxton sends me these seven minute abs videos [for abdominal exercises], 'I did this last night, over to you', type of thing.

"You try doing little bits to keep yourself going, because it's second nature, you don't want to become a slob. You do indulge, there are more McDonald's this time of year than there would be normally.

"I don't pig out necessarily, I don't tend to put on an awful lot of weight, but you definitely indulge. Say when things are normal, you go for your pints, go for your nights out. You enjoy the good things in life, but it's second nature to be training and to keep yourself fit.

"While I have no injuries and no niggles, I know no different and I'm just pushing on because I've no doubt I'll be trying to catch Ciaran Kilkenny in a fitness test, like, and that's how it has been for the last few years."

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