It was at the ninth time of asking, but Mayo’s first championship victory over the Dublin senior football team since 2012 has been a blessing in disguise to the All-Ireland champions of 2015 to 2020. That’s according to their multiple All-Star midfielder Brian Fenton for whom this year’s semi-final loss to the Green and Red was his first ever taste of senior championship defeat.
And the Raheny man has issued a veiled warning to all-comers that Dublin will return for the 2022 campaign with all guns blazing in an attempt to regain ownership of the Sam Maguire cup.
“For a long time we were the team with the target on our back and now we are one of many teams looking over their shoulders at who’s coming,” Fenton told Newstalk Radio.
“Hypothetically, if we had won again last year it just would have covered over cracks that the analysis and learnings of a loss would bring, so a loss from our point of view was unfortunately the best outcome in terms of refreshing players, refreshing management, refreshing drive and motivation.”
The 28-year-old who has won five All-Star awards explained to Newstalk presenter Eoin Sheehan why he thought Dublin losing to Mayo, in what turned into an extra-time thriller at Croke Park, may even be good for the city.
“I was very lucky to bring Sam Maguire into my primary school for five or six years in-a-row and at that stage the kids were probably saying, ‘Look, I see this every year, what’s different? Just give me homework off.’
“So everyone has gone a year without it and you always want what you can’t have or what you haven’t had for a long time so I think it will invigorate the city again. 2015, ’16 and ’13, the hype around the city and the clubs and in kids and fans was huge whereas not to blame anyone, but that can dwindle.
“I think what losing will do for the city, the fans will be more motivated and players will be more motivated and coaches will be extra motivated to bring us back to that. I certainly think we still have the panel and the team to do it, so we’re excited.”