He was a peripheral player at best as a minor. At one stage he was going to specialise in swimming, and he was looking on from the crowd when Dublin crumbled against Donegal in last year's championship.
But after a slow start, Brian Fenton has emerged as one of the finds of 2015. He finally departed the dugout against Monaghan in the League and started the next 10 competitive games for Dublin after that.
It was the ideal introduction to senior football for the 22-year-old, culminating in a man-of-the-match performance in the All-Ireland final victory. But amidst the celebrations, the occasion was tinged with sadness for Fenton whose mother Marian past away in 2013.
Speaking to the Irish Independent today, the Raheny clubman recalled the poignant moment he shared with his family as they celebrated her memory after the final whistle.
It was an emotional time. I met Dad and my family at the final whistle, I was thinking of Mam, thinking of her always.
Fenton also remembered the deceased David Billings who worked tirelessly to nurture the Dublin player's talent while studying Physiotherapy in UCD.