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15,000 Dubs fans paint the town blue as they toast city's 5-in-a-row champions

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Fans at the Merrion Square homecoming for the victorious Dubs squad. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Fans at the Merrion Square homecoming for the victorious Dubs squad. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The victorious Dublin men's team with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

The victorious Dublin men's team with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Christopher Smith with his daughter Saoirse. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Christopher Smith with his daughter Saoirse. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

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Fans at the Merrion Square homecoming for the victorious Dubs squad. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Let the good times roll! Some 15,000 Dublin GAA fans celebrated both All-Ireland wins again as they welcomed their heroes home.

For the first time ever, the men's and women's senior football teams joined as one to share the excitement with their supporters in Merrion Square yesterday.

Historic

Just two weeks ago, Jim Gavin's men claimed a historic five-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles by beating Kerry in the final replay.

Just a day later, Mick Bohan's women's team won their third All-Ireland trophy in succession, overcoming Galway.

Their victories were an inspiration for thousands of boys and girls who turned out to cheer on the champions.

But the drive for five didn't come easily for the Boys in Blue.

According to Dublin manager Jim Gavin, his team's success was solely down to their "fantastic attitude".

"It's been a privilege to train these players to reach their full potential," he said.

"Their attitude is what makes them unique and stand out the most, which we certainly saw in the last 15 minutes of the replay. They didn't just play the right way - they played the Dublin way."

Ballymun Kickhams star Dean Rock told fans their support certainly helped to take away his nerves on the big day.

"I've been part of the Dubs for nine or 10 years now and I can't remember a time when our bond has been as strong as it is now," he said.

Grateful

"It's hard to put into words the support we've been getting but I'm just so grateful to be here once again and to celebrate this magical occasion."

Dubs legend Bernard Brogan said he felt blessed to be able to add value to his team at the age of 35.

"I've been injured quite badly and tried really hard to get back on to the panel," he said.

"As an athlete and competitor I always want to push and improve myself.

"If the team needed me, I was always there for them. To be able to still add value to the group has been amazing."

In previous years, the homecoming for the Dublin men's team has been held within days of the win but this year's celebrations took place two weeks later.

According to Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe, Dublin City Council wanted both teams to be involved in the celebrations and due to the replay "a number of people had holidays booked and other arrangements".

The free online tickets were snapped up within hours of going live - a total of 3,500. All remaining tickets were allocated to the Dublin County Board and the Dublin Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

During the gathering, the crowds were entertained by music from Keywest, Rising Sons and The Young Wolfe Tones, among others.

There were also video highlights of both the men's and women's campaigns, along with interviews from former stars.

Dubs fan Christopher Smith, from Blessington, Co Wicklow, came out to show his support with his daughter Saoirse (7) and niece Sophie (11).

"We would have been here hail, rain or snow," he said.

"The Dubs have done us so proud over the past five years, so this is our way of saying thank you.

"We're here every year and will be sure to come out in 2020 when the Boys in Blue make six-in-a-row.

"I also have no doubt the girls will be just as successful next year and the year after, and the year after that."

Declan Doherty, from Lucan, was joined by his son Kevin (12), a future GAA star with Lucan Sarsfields.

"We attended both finals and to see the Dubs come out on top with this historic win is indescribable," he said.

"We'll be of course hoping they make six-in-a-row but win or lose they deserve all the support they get and more.

"I'm delighted with the turnout today and I'm sure the lads really appreciate it."

This year the homecoming moved from its traditional location in Smithfield as Merrion Square has twice the capacity. In total, yesterday's event had 15,000 people.


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