EAMON FENNELL has paid tribute to the St Vincent's hierarchy who helped him realise his county title ambitions, more than two-and-a-half years since his protracted transfer from O'Toole's eventually came to pass.
The powerhouse midfielder found himself surplus to inter-county requirements when Jim Gavin took over as Dublin manager 12 months ago.
But this Sky Blue cloud had a silver lining and Fennell has been free to give his full commitment to Vincent's this season.
They duly claimed a first Dublin SFC title in six years last Wednesday night, with Fennell recalled to the starting team against Ballymun after a recent calf injury, and he followed up with a high-fielding tour de force during the first half of last Sunday's Leinster club quarter-final against St Loman's.
"Over the last week it's been obviously great," he enthused. "Without the support I've got from around, close friends and family, I probably wouldn't be here today because there are lot of people that did a lot of work for me.
"I have to thank the likes of Brian Mullins, Tony Diamond and all these people who are within Vincent's. You're only as strong as the people you have around you, and I have a great group of lads within Vincent's and a great group of lads around me as friends."
The long-running saga of Fennell's quest for a club transfer finally materialised in February 2011, and he won an All-Ireland medal with Dublin later that year.
"It was always going to be a rough road leaving O'Toole's," he said. "I left to try and get to play football and to win things, so I'm happy with how things are going at the moment. This is hopefully just the start of it, but we have a lot more to do."
Several of his new teammates followed up St Vincent's previous county title – in 2007 – by achieving Leinster and All-Ireland honours.
"There's obviously a rich history there," he reflected, "but we have to make our own history. It's obviously great what teams did before us but we're a new team, we're a young team, we want to make our own history now."
But he was non-committal on the prospects of an inter-county comeback.
"I'm not really thinking about that, to be honest with you," he maintained. "I just want to concentrate on the Vincent's thing because at the moment we have a great thing going," he concluded.