Friday 21 October 2016

All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton receives rapturous homecoming at Parnell's GAA club

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 22/09/2015 | 11:41

Dublin's Stephen Cluxton brings the Sam Maguire cup onto the stage during the team homecoming.
Dublin's Stephen Cluxton brings the Sam Maguire cup onto the stage during the team homecoming.

Lashing rain did not dampen the spirits of thousands of soaking supporters as the Dublin team arrived at their captain's club in Coolock last night.

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Parnell's GAA club was bedecked in banners proudly declaring the victorious skipper Stephen Cluxton is their most illustrious member.

The steady downpours of rain that turned the football  into a slippery bar of soap in the final on Sunday returned last night as the team's calvacade of buses arrived with the Sam Maguire behind a jauntily marching Artane Boys Band.

A mighty roar from the crowd greeted the homecoming hero Captain Cluxton as he emerged from the bus with the trophy held high over his head.

The team was lead onto the open air stage by team manager Jim Galvin who saluted the loyalty of the team's supporters.

"I'm surprised to see so many people here in this pouring rain.  Our supporters have been fantastic and we want to thank you so much for your brilliant support," said the delighted manager.

Read more: Joyous scenes as thousands welcome Sam Maguire home to Dublin 'after short holiday in Kerry'

He praised the team's supporters for their loyalty and lung-power on the team's  tough road to the final.

The Dublin stars joined hands on the stage as the crowd roared three cheers for the All Ireland victors.

Club chairwoman Suzanne Hannon welcomed the heroes to the club and thanked them for giving their all-conquering efforts to their county.

Moments before the arrival of the winning squad, Ms Hannon told The Herald her club was hugely proud of Stephen Cluxton.

"He's been a huge inspiration to everyone in the club, particularly the younger members. What he and the team achieved will encourage the next generation to achieve more success in the years ahead," she said.

"Stephen brought the Sam Maguire here in 2013 and now its back ahgain tonight. THe atmosphere is absolutely electric here all evening," she said.

Read more: Philly McMahon on foul play accusations: 'I don't give a shi** - there was definitely no intention'

"We've a great night ahead and our facilities manager Dave Feeney has done a great job.  Thousands of people are here for what is a very special night," she said.

"A lot of our club members have taken the whole week off from work to celebrate because we knew Dublin was going to win," she said.

Men, women and children have been milling around the club grounds all evening as they waited for their heroes to arrive at Parnell's GAA complex in Coolock.

"We're over the moon. What a team! And we're thrilled for Stephen Cluxton," said fan Terry Sheehan (51).

"It's a fantastic achievement. THe team were so disciplined in playing Kerry off the field'" he said.

"I'm absolutely chuffed," said Tracey Kiernan (29) who travelled from Donabate.

"I've taken the week off work to celebrate because I never doubted we'd win. Three wins out of five finals is fantastic," she said.

Fiona Cunningham (51), chief executive officer of the local Member First credit unions amalgamation,  said she was a huge fan and was delighted the credit union had sponsored a huge amount of activities in GAA clubs in the region.

"We're all very proud of Stephen and the whole team," she said.

"I live just around the corner from Stephen Cluxton in Kilmore and he's a complete gentleman," said Phil Sheehan (55).

"The match was so nerve-wracking I nearly had a heart attack," she said.

"I'm ecstatic. Absolutely delighted," said Anne Davey (52).

"It's so thrilling to be a Dub tonight. That team has made us the greatest county in Ireland. I was soaked to the skin on Hill 16 but we didn't mind the rain one bit. My father Joe McGrane is 80 now and he''s delighted. He used to bring me to all the Dublin matches and I've kept going but my dad stayed at home to watch. Our whole family is thrilled," she said

Joe Ecock (79) stood in the rain last night with his wife Carmel, daughter Deirdre, and grandchildren.

"I'd delighted to be here. I was at the match yesterday and I've been going to support the Dubs for 60 years at least. It's a great night," he said.

"We don't mind getting wet again tonight after all the team did for us in the rain yesterday," said his daughter Deirdre.


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