Friday 26 December 2014

Taps run dry as fans await the players until early hours

Published 17/03/2014 | 02:30

Irish fans Olive O'Malley and Tony McDevitt pictured at Paris Charles De Gaulles airport on their way home after the win over France.  Picture; GERRY MOONEY.   16/3/14
Irish fans Olive O'Malley and Tony McDevitt pictured at Paris Charles De Gaulles airport on their way home after the win over France.

By the time Ireland's rugby heroes arrived back at their hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning, the beer taps had already run dry.

It was 1am when eventually the hundreds of waiting fans got a close-up glimpse of the Six Nations trophy and, more importantly, the men who secured it.

Joe Schmidt hoisted Brian O'Driscoll into the air for a victory lap around the reception of the Hotel du Collectionneur, much to the delight of the travelling support.

At the same time, "Allez Les Verts" rang out all over Paris. The party went into full swing – and while this story had a fairytale ending, there were no Cinderella-style curfews.

After attending the official team dinner in the grounds of Stade de France on the outskirts of the city, BOD and the players returned to their hotel on the Champs-Elysees to raucous applause at 1am.

"All the drink in the hotel ran out there were so many fans there waiting to welcome back the team," said Emer Fox, from Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

"It was absolutely unbelievable and Brian looked delighted – he was smiling from ear to ear."

The team were given their own area to continue the festivities with their wives and girlfriends, although some ventured to bars in the surrounding area.

"We all love Brian and we wanted to be there to see him end on a high," Jimmy Griffin, a member of Seapoint Rugby Club, in Dublin, told the Irish Independent.

"Brian has given so much to Irish sport and it was only right to be in Paris to wave goodbye, cheer him off."

Saturday's match programme has already become a collector's item and fans were scrambling to get their hands on the memorabilia.

"I don't know how we did it, but we managed to get the very last programme in Paris," said Olive O'Malley, who booked flights last year with her husband Tony McDevitt to be part of the momentous occasion.

Irish Independent

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