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joys in blue Brian Fenton unsure on Stephen Cluxton future as he confirms Dublin return

Wouldn't it be great to have him back? But the fella is almost 40 now. I'm slagging him saying he'll be playing Masters next year’

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Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at the launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product at Croke Park in Dublin. See details below. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at the launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product at Croke Park in Dublin. See details below. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton at the launch the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product at Croke Park in Dublin. See details below. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Brian Fenton insists he is raring to go again with Dublin in 2022, ending speculation he was set to take a year away from Dessie Farrell’s set up.

The double Footballer of the Year award winner is already gearing up for the new season, just months after suffering his first defeat in championship football when going down to Mayo in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final stage. It was the first time that Dublin had tasted defeat in a staggering seven years and 45 matches.

And despite rumours swirling around the capital that the Raheny man would follow the likes of Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion and step away from the squad for a period, he has already turned his thoughts to the new season.

“Ah yeah, for sure,” he replied when asked if he was ready to go with Dublin again.

“I've had plenty of weeks to enjoy myself. With the more recent restrictions there'll be no Copper Face Jacks after midnight.

"Yeah, as a group I think that energy gathers as time goes on and we come closer to Christmas time we sort of know that come January there'll be fitness test and strength tests and lads start to communicate a little bit around this time of year, the WhatsApps start to fire up and that sort of energy comes back into place.

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Dublin's Brian Fenton, Stephen Cluxton and James McCarthy celebrate their five in-a-row glory after beating Kerry last September. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin's Brian Fenton, Stephen Cluxton and James McCarthy celebrate their five in-a-row glory after beating Kerry last September. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin's Brian Fenton, Stephen Cluxton and James McCarthy celebrate their five in-a-row glory after beating Kerry last September. Pic: Sportsfile

“As that grows and as more lads start mentioning it, you're sort of saying, right, feck it, here we go, back on the wagon again.”

Fenton denied that the speculation surrounding Stephen Cluxton’s future had a negative effect on Dublin in 2020 and insists that they have a strong replacement in Evan Comerford if the Parnells man doesn’t return.

“At the time, when we were aware that he wasn't coming back, I thought it would be a distraction and this big thing. And that was there in the media for sure but inside the group, I don't think it was,” he said.

"We're all mature enough and long enough on the road to know that players come in and out. Dermo has come in and out, Jack (McCaffrey), Paul Mannion.

"They've come in and out in many ways and as the year went on, it certainly wasn't a distraction for us, as much as I certainly thought it would be at the start.

"I don't know (if he’ll come back). “Wouldn't it be great to have him back? But the fella is almost 40 now. I'm slagging him saying he'll be playing Masters next year.

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“I reached out to him for pints and stuff and he's still there, still alive and still a friend but I don't know is the truth.

"We chat all the time, well no more so than any mates. I'm sure I'll see him at a Damien Dempsey gig over Christmas, please God if they go ahead.

"But to be fair looking back, would you fault Evan Comerford? I don't know if you would and he is the most professional athlete you'll come across.

"As good as the keepers were in the All-Ireland series, I'd say Evan Comerford will have numerous All-Stars going forward. He certainly helps me to field when he's kicking it out."

Fenton was speaking at the launch of the new Avonmore Pro-Oats product. The partnership between the GPA, the GAA and Avonmore Protein Milk sees a contribution from each litre of Avonmore Protein Milk sold going to support the GPA’s player development programme and grass roots projects.

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