Brian Fenton will play it whatever way Westmeath want it

Whatever way Westmeath choose to align themselves in Sunday's Leinster final, Brian Fenton doesn’t mind.

Indications from Tom Cribbin’s camp point to a more offensive style compared to last year’s final defeat to Dublin when they telegraphed early they would be out to park the bus.

Man-on-man, sweeper or something else, it matters not a jot to Fenton. If he is faced with 13 or 14 men in front of him, it won’t suck any of the enjoyment out of the game for him.

“Definitely not for me and I wouldn't say it is in the group that, 'Oh, we have to do this, we have to do that and the other'. We looked forward to every game, whether it's breaking down a defence or going man on man and running at teams.

“It's a great challenge for us and that's where the excitement comes in for me, whether I can kick passes long or kick passes short. So it's definitely an excitement more than a negative thing, I suppose.”

Fenton anticipates Westmeath will be the better for experiencing a Leinster final, which incidentally was his first senior provincial decider. But does he expect Westmeath will open their shoulders now that they are no longer novices to the occasion?

“I don't know about adventurous. I think last year was a huge challenge for us to break them down and I'm sure it will be the next day again. They've come to Croke Park, they have Leinster final experience last year, they have Leinster semi-final experience this year so they'll be well used to the day and the journey up and the whole experience and the crowd and everything. We're anticipating a huge battle.”

Fenton acknowledges he didn’t perform as well as he would have wanted to 12 months ago. “Last year, looking back it was a great learning curve for me. It was tight in the first half, going into half-time and we had beaten Longford, we had beaten teams well and we had that kind of a cushion but in the Leinster final against Westmeath it was tight at half-time.

“For me, I probably didn't have my best game in that first half. I think we came out after half-time and Jack nipped up for a goal, Paul Flynn got a goal, not against the run of play, but just like that and it kind of turned so last year's Leinster final was a tough game. That's what I look back on it as.”


Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner