Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Ole, Ole, Ole' - Irish paralympic team arrives home to hero's welcome at Dublin airport

Published 21/09/2016 | 16:12

Jason Smyth, with his daughter, Evie and wife Elise arrives back to Dublin airport. Photo: Damien Eagers
Jason Smyth, with his daughter, Evie and wife Elise arrives back to Dublin airport. Photo: Damien Eagers
Noelle Lehinhan, from Cork, with her sister, Eimear and niece Kendall Mang (4) as she arrived back to Dublin airport after winning a bronze medal in the Paralympics in Rio, Brazil. Photo: Damien Eagers
Niamh McCarthy, from Carrigaline, Cork with her mum, Caroline and dad, Flor. Photo; Damien Eagers
Hayley Turner with her family, Dad, Jason, mum, Bernie and brother, Ciaran. Photo: Damien Eagers
Jason Smyth, right and Michael McKillop. Photo: Damien Eagers
Family and friends at Dublin airport waiting for the Paralympics athletes to return from the Paralympics games in Rio, Brazil. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ireland's paralympic team has arrived home to a hero's welcome at Dublin airport.

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Hundreds of family, friends and supporters of the squad erupted into a spontaneous sing song as they welcomed  the athletes home from Rio who emerged from the arrivals hall proudly bearing their haul of 11 medals.

Singing a rousing rendition of "Ole, Ole, Ole", wives, husbands, parents, partners, children, friends, family and other supporters cried tears of joy as the team returned home with four gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

Waiting among the cheering crowd were the parents of gold medalist Michael McKillop who, on the advice of their son, remained in Ireland out of fears over the Zika virus.

His mother Catherine, (52), said that while she was disappointed that she wasn't able to see her son's stellar performance in person, the family was nevertheless immensely proud as they watched him on television at home.

"I was there in London so I got not only to see him but I gave him his medal, which was amazing," she told Independent.ie.

"I have that memory so I was okay to stay at home this time and watch him on TV," she said.

"We're all so proud of him. We're delighted for him," she added,

Michael meanwhile said he hopes his performance at Rio this year will send a message to everyone that "anything is possible and that you can do things if you really try to."

"Yes, I may have been diagnosed with a disability.Yes my teammates have been diagnosed with a disability, but we are able to perform at elite level with the highest scores," he said.

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