City Hall reception for Irish women's hockey team after they arrive home today
THE Irish women’s hockey team will receive a heroes’ welcome when they return home today after their unprecedented silver-medal finish at the Hockey World Cup in London yesterday.
Graham Shaw’s side lost to favourites the Netherlands yesterday, but still managed to achieve their highest-ever finish at an international tournament.
They are expected to land at Dublin Airport at 12.30pm today.
Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring (inset) said a reception would be held for the team at City Hall today, where up to 5,000 people will have the chance to welcome the silver medallists home.
“We looked at Parliament Street originally with room for about 2,000 people, but we’ve gone with Dame Street which can hold up to 5,000 people.
“There will be a private reception for the team and their families first before the civic reception,” the Lord Mayor said.
The team are expected in City Hall about 2pm, before the reception gets under way at 3pm.
Tributes have been paid to the team for their exploits by the President and the Taoiseach. President Michael D Higgins congratulated the team on their “fantastic accomplishment” and said they had broken new ground as a result.
“I wish to offer my warmest congratulations to the Irish women’s hockey team on their historic achievement of winning the silver medal at the World Cup,” the President said in a statement.
“To reach the final was a fantastic accomplishment and to do so with such skill, dedication and team spirit is truly inspirational.
“This team has broken new ground for Irish hockey and Irish sport and their momentous achievement will encourage young women and men all around the island of Ireland to take up sport,” the president said.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (inset) described their performance in the tournament as “truly amazing” and backed them for success in the 2020 Olympics in Toyko.
“Getting to a World Cup final ranks among the greatest moments in Irish sport and their feats will inspire young players all over the country.
“I know defeat in the final will have been disappointing for them but I hope they have time in the coming days to reflect on what they have achieved and to enjoy their success,” the Taoiseach said.
Sports Minister Shane Ross, who attended yesterday’s final, said: “I can’t say enough about this team, they have been absolutely tremendous throughout this tournament and have played with heart, determination and an unbelievable amount of skill.
“These women have set a serious benchmark for other Irish teams, and it shows what Ireland can do on the world stage. It’s a momentous achievement, and has rightly grabbed all the headlines over the last week and will keep grabbing the headlines for a while to come.”
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