Cheering fans hail twin triumphs of Tribeswomen
IT WAS a hero's welcome for the Galway camogie teams who brought not one but two All-Ireland trophies back to the county last night.
Bonfires and cheering fans lit and lined their way into the county as the 53 ladies returned home as champions, marking a first for the county by winning both cups.
The senior team saw off Kilkenny's attack beating them 1-9 to 0-7. The team were boosted on by the success of the intermediate side who earlier in the day beat Limerick 0-12 to 0-10.
They arrived at Ballinasloe just before 7pm for a celebrations at St Michael's Square in the town. Several thousand fans turned out for their first official reception into the county with senators Ronan Mullen and Michael Mullins joining local representatives.
Senior captain Lorraine Ryan thanked the crowds for their constant support which brought them the win.
"Since we crossed the Shannon it's been very real and the reception we received has been amazing. We absolutely know that it is these memories that will live long in our memory," she said.
Intermediate captain Sinead Keane told the crowd that it was the constant cry of Galway from the 55th minute of Sunday's game that sealed the win.
"You brought us over the line and it's a credit to you. And we're so happy that we could repay you with two cups here today," she said.
Among the crowd was one of the team's youngest supporters, three-week-old Grellan Connolly was wearing his first Galway jersey to welcome back the team. His dad Dermot had managed the team for many years.
While they may have secured double glory for the county, the girls weren't letting the fame go to their heads. Leaving Dublin yesterday after a visit to Crumlin Children's hospital, the squads decided to forego fine dining, opting instead for a burger and chips.
Just like many a GAA fan down the years, the delighted team members made a quick stop at Supermacs in O'Connell Street, Dublin. This visit was also to thank their sponsors before starting their journey home.
At Athlone the team bus stopped to allow the victorious ladies captains to walk their teams and the respective trophies, the McGrath and O'Duffy cups, across the Shannon bridge and officially welcome them back to the west.