It has been a year like no other but, where there is love and community, there is hope. AIB's The Toughest Summer aired on Tuesday night on RTÉ One and it brought some much-needed joy and optimism to GAA fans around the country.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Ross Whitaker, the documentary featured a host of personalities, ranging from players to supporters and commentators, including the likes of TJ Reid, Caitriona Cormican, Ann Downey, David Brady and Roscommon's number one fan, Paddy Joe Burke.
It gave us a glimpse into how the wider GAA community dealt with the challenges posed by the pandemic but each of their stories also gave unique perspectives on the last five months. Those watching were engrossed by the narrative.
— AIB_GAA (@AIB_GAA) August 25, 2020
— Aideen Naughton (@AideenKnocky) August 25, 2020
This is an excellent programme and shows what the GAA means to the majority of people here in Ireland #TheToughest.
— Karl Keohane (@KarlKeohane) August 25, 2020
#TheToughest illustrates perfectly why @officialgaa is one of the greatest organisations not just in Ireland but in the world. Throughout Covid from top to bottom they been the essence of community- urban & rural. @OfficialWexGAA
— George Lawlor (@cllrglawlor) August 25, 2020
Emotional stuff watching #TheToughestSummer tonight, the GAA means so much to people and is the lifeblood of the community. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Well done to everyone involved 👏🏻 #TheToughest
— Niamh de Brún (@NiamhdeBrun) August 25, 2020
— Denise Biggins (@DeniseBiggins) August 25, 2020
— Denise (@deniseaoc) August 25, 2020
— Joanne O’ Riordan (@JoanneOR_Ox) August 25, 2020
The GAA and their communities were always the best in people.... it just took all this for us all to realize just how special they really are and how much they mean to everyone. Makes you proud to be part of it all 👏🏻#TheToughest
— Shane McGrath (@Shaneytweet) August 25, 2020
Marvellous work, @rosswhitakertv. I wouldn’t wish this illness on any family. Truly, it was a terrifying time. Still is. And we were the lucky ones. Lovely to reflect in a positive way now. 🙏🏻 #TheToughest
— Ciara Reilly (@PrimEdTeacher) August 25, 2020
— Becca Croash (@BeccaCroash) August 25, 2020
— Killian Whelan (@Killian_Whelan) August 25, 2020
Special, absolutely special. Ye nearly had me in tears lads 🤣 Top class production from start to finish, hats off to all involved in the making of the Toughest Summer 👏👌🙌 @AIB_GAA @D9BMayo @MartyM_RTE #GAA
— John McMahon (@John_Mc_Mahon) August 25, 2020
— Bernard Brogan (@bernardbrogan) August 25, 2020
Anyone for an 11.30pm trainin sess after watching that?! Followed by a haircut in Paddy Joe's tomorrow! 👏 #TheToughest
— Alan Malone (@Sta1one) August 25, 2020
— Shane Dunne (@Shane_i_am) August 25, 2020
Director Ross Whitaker has a number of other acclaimed documentaries to his name, including Katie and The Boys In Green. The Toughest Summer series included five online chapters in the buildup to the feature-length documentary. They can be watched AIB's YouTube channel right now and the full documentary will also be available on their channel from 1pm on Thursday 27 August.