Blue Monday for Dubs as 35,000 honour All Ireland heroes
IT was a Blue Monday like no other as 35,000 Dublin fans honoured the football greats who brought the Sam Maguire back to the capital.
Dublin star Dean Rock had the entire Merrion Square rocking as he broke out into a rendition of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.
But it was the fans who were on cloud nine as they shook hands and hugged the sportsmen who brought Sam Maguire back home for the second time in two years.
Speaking during the celebrations, manager Jim Gavin said it was an "emotional time" for players and their loved ones.
"It's one thing to win, but it's another thing to say thanks for the great support we have in Dublin. There are a lot of people tonight that probably didn't get a ticket for yesterdays game. It's a chance for them to see the players close up and personal and to see the cup as well."
The players had earlier attended a civic reception in the Mansion House where they were praised by Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn.
The event was organised for 5pm to allow the players to unwind before the incredible scenes that awaited them later.
The main event took place just a short distance away - as Merrion Square was gripped by a sense of delirium.
Some of the supporters turned out from lunchtime in order to get a bird’s eye view of the stage.
Among the thousands of fans who turned out to share in the celebrations were large groups of school children. Many of them had only heard the stories about when Dublin’s footballers had reigned supreme during different generations.
Chants of "We want Sam" and renditions of Molly Malone could be heard miles away from the southside venue.
The Dublin players arrived on stage with the coveted trophy just after 7:30pm.
A massive cheer came for the star of the show - double goal scorer Bernard Brogan.
"It's great to see the numbers out here tonight. I know it's not easy to get in with the traffic. Please God this is the first of a few more with this team," he told the crowd.
Although he had a hoarse voice, Kevin McManamon bravely grabbed the mic and song a rendition of The Killer's "All The Things That I've Done"
He appeared at the front of the stage with his younger brother Sean, who was trusted with the guitar.
But the popular rock song was only the beginning of the singing as Dean Rock broke out with 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
It was revealed on stage that stars Ciaran Kilkenny and Michael Darragh MacAuley missed their first day of the college term following the victory.
"I'll be in tomorrow, " MacAuley said sparking rapturous laughter from the crowd.
Every blue flag in Merrion Square appeared when the panel lifted the Sam Maguire one by one.
The trophy was dedicated to the fans - many of whom spoke about the great occasion.
"I can't believe I'm here to witness this," said Clara Rowan (20) from Ballsbridge.
"I knew they were the best team but when you experience moments like this, you really appreciate being a Dubs fan."
Dublin City Council confirmed that an estimated 35,000 people turned up for the event.
"It is a marvellous occasion for the city . The numbers speak for themselves. What a great support this team had - everyone is in great spirits," said Head of Communications Karl Mitchell.
After the event in Merrion Square, the players hopped on an open top bus which brought them straight to Parnells GAA Club in Coolock.
Home club to Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton, the players and their families partied into the early hours.