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Dublin desire is unrelenting - Fenton warns the chasing pack



Brian Fenton of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Fenton of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile


Brian Fenton of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Counties aiming to knock Dublin off their perch got a stark message yesterday from Brian Fenton, who revealed the All-Ireland champions' incredible comeback against Monaghan was triggered by "a desire in our dressing room… that goes beyond awards and medals."

The 2018 Footballer of the Year admitted he was "almost embarrassed" by Dublin's first-half performance in Croke Park, which saw the reigning champions trail by nine points at the break and facing a first league defeat of Dessie Farrell's reign.

"People have come to watch you. It's a crap day. Hill 16 is half-full. Your family is there," he explained.

"Then you have the likes of James McCarthy in the dressing-room staring you down. You're saying, 'right, I better shape up in this half.'"

Dublin were still six points down in the 70th minute but Fenton says the idea of simply accepting defeat was never one he entertained.

"For me, I don't know whether it's a personal thing or a chip on the shoulder, but you never want to be beaten. Or certainly not lie down."

The Raheny midfielder - who has never lost a championship match since making his debut in 2015 - also stressed that a change of management has "brought new life" to the Dublin set-up after seven hugely successful years under Jim Gavin.

Fenton and his team-mates could be forced to play outside of Croke Park twice in this year's All-Ireland SFC Super 8s should delegates back a proposal by Central Council at GAA Congress later this month.

The Dubs have enjoyed two games at GAA HQ, their de facto home ground, since the series launched in 2018 and that has been the source of much controversy in GAA circles.

Donegal failed to restrict Dublin to one game at the Jones' Road venue during the Super 8s when their motion was shot down last year having received just 36 per cent of votes.

That looks set to change on February 28/29, however, with the GAA moving to correct the anomaly by allowing fixture planners to schedule the 'neutral' games of the Super 8s in venues outside of Croke Park.

A total of 63 motions will go before delegates next weekend, with attention likely to be centred on the possible introduction of a black card in hurling, which has been proposed by the Standing Committee on Playing Rules and endorsed by Central Council.

Limerick boss John Kiely is one of many high-profile names pleading to "leave hurling alone" and there is sure to be a lively debate about the merits of hurling following football's lead and enforcing a 10-minute sin-bin in an attempt to curb cynical play.

Irish Independent

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