THE ending of a famine would have to be a cause for celebration. So it was no surprise that the people of Duagh erupted in celebration after their team's impressive win in Sunday's North Kerry Senior Football Championship after a 50-year hiatus.
Celebrations began in the north Kerry village pretty much after the final whistle sounded in Listowel as locals set about preparing for the return of their heroes. Bonfires were lit along the route from Smearla Bridge to the village, while hundreds of locals gathered to welcome home the victorious team.
"We crossed the Smearla Bridge and we could see the bonfires and then about 100 cars joined the cavalcade into the village," said club PRO Paddy Keane. "The village was absolutely packed and people were cheering us from all angles. It was something special. Something to remember."
After what can only be described as a momentous night, the team and mentors were up and at it on Monday, taking a celebratory tour of the local schools. First stop was Lyre NS, were team captain Kieran Quirke teaches. Then the parade moved on to the house of 1962 captain, the late Billy McCarthy.
"Billy passed away since Duagh last won, but he had always wanted to see Duagh win another north Kerry championship so we thought it would be fitting to stop at his house on Monday," Paddy said.
From there the victorious team headed to Duagh Family Resource Centre, before finishing up at Duagh NS where they received a massive welcome from the children, who were even more excited when they were told they'd have no homework that night.
Paying tribute to the team and backroom staff, Paddy said that there is a great sense of achievement in the parish and great credit is due to those who sacrificed their Christmas to give it their all in Sunday's final.
"We were extremely disappointed that the match didn't go ahead on St Stephen's Day as it meant that Christmas didn't exist for the players. Some of them are only 17 and 18 so it was very difficult for them to see their friends out socialising while they were training," Paddy said. "Everyone showed huge commitment and as the saying goes, 'all's well that ends well'."