Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

In Pictures: Ulster rugby fans hail Heineken Cup heroes

Peter Sloan from Belfast and Gareth Leckey from Dungannon made masks of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to wear at the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19 2012
Peter Sloan from Belfast and Gareth Leckey from Dungannon made masks of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to wear at the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19 2012
Peter Sloan from Belfast & Gareth Leckey from Dungannon made masks of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to wear at the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Face painting in the Odyssey
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Ellie McPadden aged 7 with her brother Daniel aged 11
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Davy Crawford
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Colin Robinson
Heineken Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, England 19/5/2012Leinster vs Ulster Gordan D'Arcy shows his winners medal to his partner Aoife
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Gordon DÄôArcy of Leinster gets a kiss as he celebrates his sides victory during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll of Leinster is congratulated by friends and family following the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll of Leinster is congratulated by friends and family following the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Gordon D'Arcy of Leinster celebrates with the trophy during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Johann Muller of Ulster reacts following the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll (C) of Leinster and team mates celebrate victory during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Heineken Cup final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Leinster - Heineken Cup champions of 2012
Heineken Cup Final Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Leinster - Heineken Cup champions of 2012
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Ulster fans
Heineken Cup Final Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Conor Drain with James, Lucy and Katie Humphreys and Josh Drain
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Matthew Curliss aged 7
Ulster's Rory Best dejected
Heineken Cup final, Twickenham Stadium, England 19/5/2012 Leinster vs Ulster. Ulster's Stephen Ferris and Chris Henry dejected
Heineken Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, England 19/5/2012Leinster vs Ulster. Ulster's Rory Best dejected
Heineken Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, England 19/5/2012 Leinster vs Ulster. Ulster fans at Twickenham
Heineken Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, England 19/5/2012 Leinster vs Ulster. Leinster fans after the final whistle
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Ulster fans cheering the team on
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Ulster fans cheering the team on
Ulster fans during the Heinken Cup Final at Twickenham, London
Leinster and Ulster take to the field for the William Hill Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park, Glasgow
Leinster fans during the Heinken Cup Final at Twickenham, London
Leinster fans Mary Farley Susan Murphy, John Murray and Roseanne McEntee pictured at Errigle Inn bar in Belfast
Carolin Glasgow and Catherine Swain pictured cheering on Ulster at Cloth Ear bar in Belfast
Ulster fans pictured at The Taphouse bar in Belfast
Ulster fans pictured at The Taphouse bar in Belfast
Ulster fans pictured at The Taphouse bar in Belfast
Paul Campbell and Ronan O'Dougherty pictured cheering on Ulster at The Taphouse bar in Belfast
Ulster fans pictured cheering on Ulster at the Cloth Ear bar in Belfast
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Ulster fans cheering the team on
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Heartbroken Ulster fans pictured at the Errigle Inn bar in Belfast
Leinster fans Mary Farley Susan Murphy, John Murray and Roseanne McEntee pictured cheering on Leinster at Errigle Inn bar in Belfast
Ian Anderson is pictured watching Ulster at Errigle Inn bar in Belfast
Ulster Fans in London before the game. John and Rachel Strange from Carrickfergus
Ulster Fans in London before the game. Fiona Gibson,Claire Gibson, Adam Dysart, Emma McKay, Becca Dysart
Heineken Cup Final : Leinster vs Ulster at Twickenham Stadium, London. Malcolm and Carol Beattie, Alan Gardner, Isobel Gardner and Kenny Gardner
Anthony Harvey and Daniel Groves
Heineken Cup Final : Leinster vs Ulster at Twickenham Stadium, London
Leinster vs Ulster at Twickenham Stadium, London
Ulster fans celebrate a try at Saturday's Heineken Cup Final in Twickenham
Ulster fans celebrate a try at Saturdays Heineken Cup Final in Twickenham
Ulster Fans in London before the game
An Ulster fan in London before the game
An Ulster fan in London before the game
Ulster fans Kevin Murray, Jack Dixon and Noel Dixon before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham.
Rory Best's son Ben Best with his Mum before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans are dejected after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans Heather McNeill and Suzy Lough before Saturdays Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham
Young Ulster fans Ollie and Noah Taylor from Belfast before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster manager Brian McLaughlin's daughter Laura and niece Connie McLaughlin before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fan Stephanie Cardwell gets added support from the local Met before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Leinster fans before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Ulster fans Keith Evans, Kenny Clements, Jessica Evans and Colin Clements before Saturday's Heineken Cup Final between Ulster and Leinster at Twickenham
Heartbroken Ulster fans pictured at the Errigle Inn bar in Belfast
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Fans look disappointed as Leinster destroy Ulster
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Kirsty Johnston, Johanna Craig and Rachel Baxter all aged 21
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Jessica Finlay and Katie Stewart aged 19
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Daniel McFaul aged 4
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Holly Hughes and Zoe Henderson aged 13
Ulster's Rory Best
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Face painting in the Odyssey
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Anna Robinson aged 10
Ulsters fans at Saturday's Heineken Cup Final in Twickenham
Ulster Rugby fans watching the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast. Heineken girls Shauna Devlin, left, and Leeza Dixon, right with Ulster fan Adam Patton
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast. Heineken girls Shauna Devlin, left, and Leeza Dixon, right with fans from left, Stephen Quigley, Scott Cranston and David McPolin
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Ulster Rugby fans watch the Heineken Cup Final at the Botanic Inn, Belfast
Fans leave George Best Belfast City Airport ahead of Ulster's Heineken Cup final clash against Leinster at Twickenham in London. Left to right. Promotion girls Lauren Quigley Bernadette Brown and Rachael Mearns
Fans leave George Best Belfast City Airport ahead of Ulster's Heineken Cup final clash against Leinster at Twickenham in London. Russell Eddis with his son Hugo (7) from Portglenone
Fans leave George Best Belfast City Airport ahead of Ulster's Heineken Cup final clash against Leinster tomorrow at Twickenham in London. Left to right. Stephen Deyermond with his son Bruce (13), wife Suzanne and daughter Martha (7) from Ballyclare
Fans leave George Best Belfast City Airport ahead of Ulster's Heineken Cup final clash against Leinster tomorrow at Twickenham in London. Left to right. Paddy Hutley with his son Gregory (11), wife Emily and son Terry (13) from Newcastle
Ulster arrive back in Northern Ireland at the Belfast International Airport following their Heineken Cup final to Leinster on Saturday. Stephen Ferris pictured signing an autograph as the team arrives at the airport
Ulster arrive back in Northern Ireland at the Belfast International Airport following their Heineken Cup final to Leinster on Saturday. Stephen Ferris gets his picture taken with a fan as the team arrives at the airport.
Ulster arrive back in Northern Ireland at the Belfast International Airport following their Heineken Cup final to Leinster on Saturday. Stefan Terblanche (second from right) and Ruan Pienaar (right) are greeted by fans as the team arrives at the airport
Ulster arrive back in Northern Ireland at the Belfast International Airport following their Heineken Cup final to Leinster on Saturday. Andrew Trimble and Paul Marshall pictured signing autographs as the team arrives at the airport.
Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin gets a hug from his daughter Laura after Saturday's Heineken Cup Final when Ulster were defeated by Leinster at Twickenham
Heineken Cup Final : Leinster vs Ulster at Twickenham Stadium, London. Ulster Fans in London before the game
Ulster fans made their way down to the Odyssey Arena, Belfast to watch the Ulster vs Leinster Heineken Cup Final match on a big screen. Ruth McFaul aged 10
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Portadown girls Emma Foster and Lynsey Woods
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Portadown girls Emma Foster and Lynsey Woods
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Jacob Evans (11) from Wellington supporting his Mum's home team
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012.Ulster Fans Clare Orr and Stuart Clarke from Hillsborough
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012.Ulster Fans Andrew Pentland and Peter Briggs from Lurgan
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Ulster fans Sam and Wesley Watt from Canada
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Dylan Mooney and Scott Wilson from Waringstown
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Ruth and Brian Cave with their support
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Pearl and John Donaldson with Jamie ( Ulster's No1 fan)
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Bob Dillon
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012.Chris Wilson, Mark McSparron and Bob Dillon
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Dylan Sofley (6) and William McMaster (4) from Crossgar
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Robin Ewing
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th May 2012Mandatory Credit - Picture by Darren Kidd/Presseye.com Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012.
Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. Ulster fans Paddy Watson, Molly Duff and Aoife Watson from Lisburn
Heineken Cup Final 2012 Leinster v Ulster, London 2012. 14-month-old Eoghan Watson from Lisburn takes a nap
Paul Campbell and Ronan O'Dougherty at The Taphouse bar in Belfast
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Leinster fans support their team during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Cian Healy of Leinster goes over to score his teams second try during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Cian Healy of Leinster is congratulated by Johnny Sexton after he scored his teams second try during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Dan Tuohy of Ulster goes over to score his teams first try during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Dan Tuohy of Ulster claims the lineout ball during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian O'Driscoll (L) of Leinster looks on with Gordon D'Arcy during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll of Leinster reacts during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Gordon D'Arcy of Leinster is tackled by Paddy Wallace of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Gordon D'Arcy of Leinster is tackled by Paddy Wallace of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Ulster and Leinster fans mix together during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Leinster fans support their team during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Cian Healy of Leinster goes over to score his teams second try during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Rob Kearney of Leinster attacks the Ulster defence during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Leo Cullen (L) and Jonny Sexton (R) of Leinster tackle Craig Gilroy (C) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Paddy Wallace (L) of Ulster is tackled by Brian OÄôDriscoll (R) of Leinster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Leo Cullen (L) of Leinster tries to tackle Darren Cave (C) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Darren Cave of Ulster is tackled by Rob Kearney of Leinster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll (C) of Leinster is tackled by Johann Muller (L) and Paddy Wallace (R) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian OÄôDriscoll (C) of Leinster is tackled by Johann Muller (L) and Paddy Wallace (R) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Pedrie Wannenburg of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Andrew Trimble of Ulster is tackled by Brad Thorn (R) and Sean O'Brien of Leinster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Rob Kearney (L) of Leinster holds off Pedrie Wannenburg (R) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Rob Kearney (L) of Leinster holds off Pedrie Wannenburg (R) of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Jonny Sexton of Leinster is tackled by Ruan Pienaar of Ulster during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Dan Tuohy of Ulster goes over to score his teams first try during the Heineken Cup Final between Leinster and Ulster at Twickenham Stadium on May 19, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Thousands of Ulster fans have arrived home after their team’s Heineken Cup hopes were crushed by Leinster.

The dream of a second European triumph was shattered as the holders retained their trophy in front of more than 80,000 fans at Twickenham on Saturday.

It was a hugely disappointing result for supporters, some of whom had made long journeys to watch the showpiece final.

Ulster were aiming to lift the Heineken Cup for the first time since 1999, but were blown away by a dominant Leinster side.

Tries from Cian Healy, Sean O'Brien, Heinke van der Merwe and Sean Cronin — plus a penalty try early in the second half —helped the defending champions to a comprehensive victory.

The final score, 42-14, was the highest winning margin in a Heineken Cup final.

A record crowd of 81,744 watched the game, including an estimated 20,000 Ulster fans.

Among those who had made the trip was Patricia Magee from Carryduff. Because flights to London were quickly booked up, she flew to Birmingham before completing the journey by train.

“It was fantastic to see so many supporters travel over to London to show their support, even if the odds weren’t great,” she said.

“It was quite expensive to support our team, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We were outclassed but I’m still so proud of them for getting to the final.”

Jack and Paula Enwright also travelled from Belfast for the big game at Twickenham.

“Of course it’s disappointing, but to get to this stage was still a great achievement,” said Jack.

“You can’t argue with the result either. Leinster were the better team,” he added.

Another fan, Carla Montgomery, who lives in London but is originally from Ballymena, was also among the Ulster contingent at Twickenham. “There are a lot of Irish people working over here and the atmosphere was great building up to the game,” she said.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but I always knew we were up against it.”

Ben Kelly, who was with his girlfriend Jane Kinsella, was among the victorious Leinster fans who were celebrating a third Heineken Cup in four years.

“It’s fantastic — you never get tired of this,” he said. “It was a brilliant day, a brilliant atmosphere and a brilliant performance.

Outgoing Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin, whose last game in charge ended in disappointment, admitted that Leinster deserved the trophy — but insisted that the final score was harsh.

“We fought back hard and scored a nice try but in the last 10 minutes Leinster showed what a quality side they are and how much they deserved the trophy.

Despite the loss, the Ulster team have been urged to take pride in their Heineken Cup journey.

Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said: “I, like many, was shouting for Ulster. Although it wasn’t to be their day, they have certainly done themselves proud,” she said. “The first all-Ireland Heineken Cup final was a great day for Irish rugby.”

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