Heroes' homecomings in Kanturk & Knocknagree
What a wonderful two days at Croke Park for Kanturk and Knocknagree, who claimed All-Ireland honours on the double.
An air of expectation amongst supporters turned into a carnival atmosphere on Sunday night as both sides returned home in triumph.
In a brilliant weekend for Duhallow GAA, the back to back wins saw both Kanturk and Knocknagree take quantum leaps to enjoy outright triumph and reach a new milestone in their respective club histories.
Huge numbers from both participating clubs travelled with a significant sprinkling of friends from across Duhallow and North Cork in attendance.
Knocknagree emphasised their dominance, brushing aside Multyfarmham of Westmeath, in a blistering first half that laid the groundwork for team captain Matthew Dilworth to accept the silverware from GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail.
A glorious night of celebrations followed at a victory banquet in the Moran Hotel, with more than 700 supporters in attendance. And while Knocknagree partied long into the night, the Kanturk team and management were also Dublin City based, keeping a much lower profile ahead of facing Kilkenny's Ballyragget.
Kanturk kept their end of the bargain to complete a memorable Duhallow double, edging past Ballyragget thanks to a last ditch Ian Walsh point in the last minute of injury time. That allowed Croke Park turn green and white before Kanturk faced a long road home for a Victory Parade and formal welcome in the Edel Quinn Hall where huge numbers greeted the team and officials.
It was much the same for Knocknagree, with another parade around Fairfield to deafening applause in salute of a terrific success for a proud club. Following on from their impressive last weekend at GAA HQ, the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley, is to hold a civic reception to recognise the achievements of the All-Ireland champions from Kanturk and Knocknagree.
The reception will will take place in County Hall at 6pm on Wednesday, February 28.
Local county councillor Bernard Moynihan said he was delighted the County Mayor has agreed to his request to host both teams for the civic reception.
"The players, management and supporters of Kanturk and Knocknagree have represented their communities and the entire Duhallow region with great distinction on their journey to Croke Park," said Cllr Moynihan.
"It was a truly unique achievement for two teams from this area to be crowned All-Ireland champions in a single weekend and this will be a fitting tribute to both clubs on their incredible achievement."