THE choice of a Dublin footballer to turn on the Christmas lights in the heart of the Kingdom sparked huge controversy, but Bernard Brogan was given a warm welcome "home" last night.
After all, "he's one of our own", proclaimed local publican Billy Keane to the delight of the crowd who turned out to catch a glimpse of the man who denied Kerry their place in the All-Ireland final.
About 1,500 people filled the town square in Listowel, much to the relief of the two-times All- Ireland winner who revealed he was afraid no one would turn up.
"I'm half Kerry anyway and, for years and years, we came back here and I spent more time here during the summer than I did in Dublin," said the star who's jetting off to Cancun in Mexico today with his Dublin teammates.
Bernard's mother, Marie Keane Stack, is from William Street in the town and was introduced to her future husband, Bernard Brogan Snr, by former Kerry footballer and Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan in 1976.
The proud parents were also in Listowel last night to watch their son perform his duty.
By the time he arrived, the town was ablaze and the only thing left to light was the Christmas tree.
"When I saw all the lights I thought The Gooch had beaten me to it," he joked.
Proud mum Marie said she was delighted her hometown had honoured her son, but admitted she had been "quite nervous" because of the controversy.
"Listowel is a great little town, it's my town and I love it and I'm delighted he was able to come here and do this."
Kerry footballer Paul Galvin tweeted his support during the week saying Bernard Brogan was welcome in Kerry anytime.
Last night, former Kerry footballer Darragh O Se sent his message of support, saying: "Welcome back to Kerry, Bernard. You're one of our own."