"It's obviously made a good story for people but let's talk about the game," said the Irishman, keen to redirect the conversation towards Hibernian's next engagement. Last season, Fenlon would probably have been grateful for such a distraction with his team struggling for consistency and scraping along near the bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table, before being humiliated in the Scottish Cup final. The close season presumably couldn't come quickly enough.
This year, however, it seems different. It is still early days – and the Scottish Communities League Cup defeat by Queen of the South serves as a warning that the corner hasn't been fully turned just yet – but there is undoubtedly a sense of optimism around Easter Road that was detectable only by its absence last year. Hibs have shimmied up to second in the table and will scale the summit if they can defeat Inverness Caledonian Thistle at home tomorrow. They could be dunted back into second if Motherwell were to win at Pittodrie on Sunday but the chance to go top, even if only for a day, appeals to Fenlon.
"That would be fantastic – it would be great for the players," he said. "They have worked hard to get themselves into the position they are in. Hopefully we can continue to surprise people. That's when we have to change and adapt, when teams get used to the way you are playing. We have had a half-decent start, nothing more than that. But come the end of the season, then you can judge and see where we are then."
The extent of the rebuilding job that lay ahead of Fenlon was laid bare in the Scottish Cup final. Losing to Hearts in the first all-Edinburgh final since 1896 would have been sore to take anyway, but to see his team disintegrate and lose 5-1 must have been thoroughly demoralising. Arriving last November to replace Colin Calderwood, Fenlon tried to augment his squad with a number of loan signings in January but it was like sticking a plaster over a broken arm. The real work would be done in the summer when Fenlon had the first real chance to perform the sort of extensive surgery on the group he felt was necessary. The change in attitude this term, he believes, can be put down to just one thing.
"Players. That's it. No doubt about it. We have a great bunch of honest players with ability. That is half the battle. We have got some great characters in there but they are very good footballers as well. They are also willing to work hard for each other. That is the main difference. There is no magic formula. They just work very hard. There is lots to improve on. We can retain the ball better. That is something we will continue to work on. But they work hard for each other when we have the ball and when we don't have it."
Fenlon remains philosophical about the circumstances he found himself in when he first stepped into the job. "It is like everything, 90% of the time you get a job because someone has struggled previously. You know that coming in. I think the target was to stay in the league. We did that. Getting to the cup final was a massive plus in terms of the finances and how we can move the team on this season. If we had not got there we might not have been able to do as much as we have done this season."