Kilcummin GAC pay tribute to 'truly remarkable' St Enda's after All-Ireland final in Croke Park
THE Co Kerry club which crushed St Enda's All-Ireland dream on Saturday paid tribute to the "truly remarkable" GAA team.
Kilcummin GAC ended the hopes of the Co Antrim club - and the many neutrals captivated by the team's journey - when they won the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship 5-13 to 2-9 in the showdown at Croke Park.
St Enda's, from Glengormley, had never won a major football championship before capturing the county and provincial title on a dazzling run to the final in GAA headquarters.
It marked happier times for a club so often faced with adversity and tragedy - during the Troubles, five members were murdered and their clubhouse on the Hightown Road was burnt down on multiple occasions.
After Saturday's defeat, the club said it was "honoured" and "privileged" to have taken part in the final.
"Competitive sport means aspiring to be the best," St Enda's said in a message posted on the club's social media accounts.
"We were honoured to represent @AontroimGAA & @UlsterGAA at Páirc an Chrócaigh on All Ireland final day but it was a privilege to partake in such an exceptional match with @KilcumminGAA who are truly #TheToughest."
Kilcummin GAC, based three miles north of Killarney, tweeted a message of praise to their opponents after the game.
"Regardless of the result yesterday it was truly remarkable to learn about your club's history in the build-up and that you made it to Croke Park yesterday is something you should all be proud of.
"We're sure you will get the chance again in the future. Best wishes at senior level."
Following the match there were also floods of tributes from GAA fans across Ireland.
Damien Robinson said: "Can't describe what it feels like to have my alma mater not make it on the All-Ireland stage. So gutted for them. Heads held high, St Enda's will rise to the deserved top when the time comes. Super club."
Martin Montague tweeted "congratulations St Enda's you were all everyone's heroes today" while Ryan Devlin added "them St Enda's players owe nobody nothing."
Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney tweeted: "NaomhEannaCLG have done Hightown and Antrim proud; and seized Ireland's attention. For those who understand no explanation is necessary #BeBig."
The defeat for St Enda's capped a miserable day for Ulster clubs in All-Ireland competitions.
Cushendall's hurlers missed out on a place in the All-Ireland senior club final after being edged out by a stoppage time point in Parnell Park against Galway champions St Thomas'.