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Monday 22 September 2014

Olympian Fenton to feature in new book

Published 27/11/2013 | 05:36

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THE AMAZING story of a West Kerry man who won Olympic gold for the United States is to feature in a new book on the feats of Ireland's Olympians from 1896 to the present day.

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THE AMAZING story of a West Kerry man who won Olympic gold for the United States is to feature in a new book on the feats of Ireland's Olympians from 1896 to the present day.

Dennis Fenton, a native of Baile an Chóta, Ceann Trá who was born on November 20, 1888, won three gold medals and one bronze in shooting at the Summer Olympics staged in Antwerp, in 1920 and was part of the US Army Team which placed fifth overall.

The Ceann Trá man was also a member of the US team that competed at the Paris Olympics in 1924 where he won another bronze medal in the Men's Running Target Individual Event, bringing his Olympic tally to a stunning five medals.

This achievement saw the West Kerry man, who was selected for the US Olympic team on the back of his prowess as a marksman in the US Army, described at the time as one of the greatest shooters to have ever competed at the games.

He has since been listed by the official Weighted Ranking System as the 15th overall best shooter ever to have competed.

The lost story of this great Kerry Olympian was imparted to The Kerryman ahead of the London Olympics in 2012 by Dennis Fenton's great-great-grandnephew Muiris Ó Fiannachta and the subsequent publication of the story on these pages attracted the interest of Tom Hunt who has been commissioned by the Olympic Council of Ireland to compile a definitive history of Ireland's Olympians.

After reading our story Mr Hunt got in touch with Muiris and, as a consequence, the story of Dennis Fenton's Olympic feats will now be brought to the national stage with the publication of this new book in 2014.

Mr Hunt, a native of Waterford who now lives Mullingar, travelled to Leabharlann an Daingin in Dingle last Saturday for the launch of 'The Kerry Magazine' (Issue 24 2014) which is published by The Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society and features an article, written by Mr Hunt, about Dennis Fenton.

"I read about Dennis Fenton in The Kerryman and I was fascinated by his story," Mr Hunt told The Kerryman.

"He was so successful and yet is practically unknown and his feats deserve recognition."

Mr Hunt checked the 1901 Census where he found a record of Dennis Fenton and, with the assistance of Muiris and the Olympic Council of Ireland, the story of this great marksman from West Kerry will now be included in the annals of Irish sport.

Muiris and Mr Hunt met in Leabharlann an Daingin last Saturday to discuss how the project was coming along and of course to share some stories about another of Ventry's great sporting heroes with whom they have a shared mutual interest, the late great Páidí Ó Sé, who of course managed Westmeath and was one of Muiris's best friends.

Along with Muiris and his family, the family tree of Dennis Fenton – who left West Kerry for the USA in 1906 at the age of 18 before enlisting in the US Army in 1908 - also extends to the Fitzgerald family of Baile 'n tSléible.

Kerryman

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