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We're clubbing together in All-Ireland drive: Fitzsimons

 

Lead role: Frank Fitzsimons is in confident mood
Lead role: Frank Fitzsimons is in confident mood
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Antrim and Ulster Intermediate Club Football champions St Enda's, Glengormley are taking their inspiration from some of the province's most decorated players as they prepare for their All-Ireland final against Kerry and Munster kings Kilcummin at Croke Park next Saturday.

Manager Frank Fitzsimons points to the fact that while players such as Sean Cavanagh, Oisin McConville, Peter Canavan, Ryan McMenamin and Kevin Cassidy have scaled the heights with their respective counties, it's the success they later attained with their clubs that afforded them considerable satisfaction.

"We are very happy to take our lead from players to whom we look up to as being among the best ever to have emerged from Ulster," revealed Fitzsimons.

"All these players and many others like them will tell you that the successes they enjoyed with their clubs on a provincial or All-Ireland front brought them absolute satisfaction because it was earned with players they had gone to school with, grown up alongside and been mates with as well as team colleagues."

Such is the strength of the close bond which binds the current St Enda's squad that it is already being hailed as a template for other teams with designs on success.

"The message that has been coming through to us from many distinguished past players is that while they were delighted to attain success with their counties, they regarded it as absolutely brilliant to win titles with their clubs," stated Fitzsimons.

"Their families, friends and colleagues were all able to share in such successes more intimately, and thankfully we have been able to experience that following our Antrim and Ulster titles, but now we want to create what would be the memory of a lifetime by winning the All-Ireland title."

St Enda's have not deviated from the training sessions they hold every week of the season as they prepare for their trip to Headquarters, although Fitzsimons placed strong emphasis on their Friday night get-togethers.

"We have seven players based in Dublin and while they do a lot of training there with Peter Healy calling the shots, it's when they link up with the rest of the lads for our Friday night sessions that a tremendous buzz engulfs the club," pointed out Fitzsimons.

"We are delighted with the messages of goodwill which we are receiving from all quarters and I can tell you this - my players will leave every drop of sweat out there on the Croke Park pitch."

Present and former members of the St Enda's club have come together to take part in what is a concerted build-up to the final with no stone being left unturned in the bid to bring home the All-Ireland title.

"The All-Ireland final will be the biggest occasion in the club's history but then we are maybe fortunate in that the ball has been rolling kindly for us lately," added Fitzsimons.

"We have our new community centre of which we are very proud and one of the club stalwarts Ciaran McCavana was just recently elected chairman of the Antrim county board, so I suppose you could say that in a sense it is all happening for us.

"But to be truthful the icing on the cake would be the All-Ireland title.

"We might have had a fairly straightforward win at the semi-final stage but we know that Kilcummin will be a different proposition altogether."

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