Monday 19 March 2018

Sea of blue welcomes Sam to capital

Dublin heroes celebrate final glory with fans in street party

Dylan Murphy (6) from Clondalkin, Dublin, scores a goal against Bernard Brogan during the Dublin team’s visit to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo: Mark Condren
Dylan Murphy (6) from Clondalkin, Dublin, scores a goal against Bernard Brogan during the Dublin team’s visit to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo: Mark Condren
Dean Rock sings on stage as the Dublin team celebrate their victory
Stephen Cluxton with Joanne O’Connor in The Boar’s Head pub after the match
Denis Bastick holds the Sam Maguire Cup aloft under the Spire.
Some of the Dublin football team who brought the Sam Maguire Cup to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, yesterday.
Jim Gavin meets Donnacha Mannion (3) from Castlebar

Robin Schiller

Thousands of true blues crowded on to Dublin's O'Connell Street to welcome the 2015 All-Ireland winning team home, as players Dean Rock and Kevin McManamon performed for the crowd.

For the first time since the Millennium the Sam Maguire trophy was paraded on the northside, with the 2011 and 2013 homecomings being held on Merrion Square.

"The Sam Maguire is home after a short holiday in Kerry," MC Des Cahill proclaimed, as the Dublin team arrived shortly after 7.30pm to a deafening cheer from their fans.

The backroom staff of physiotherapists and doctors were introduced to the crowd, as well as former player Jason Sherlock, who now works with the panel's forward line.

"It's taken me 20 years to get on to this stage, but it's great to see the consistency in guys who love playing for Dublin and the supporters," Sherlock said.

The Sam Maguire wasn't the only trophy brought to the stage, with the O'Byrne Cup, the National League title and the Leinster Delaney Cup also on display.

Corner-back Philly McMahon joked that he was "the sober one looking after all the lads", while thanking the fans for their "amazing" support during the year.

Throughout the homecoming event thousands of supporters broke into song, with "Championes" and "Come on you Boys in Blue" ringing out.

Dublin forward Rock was chosen to perform a song, and belted out '500 Miles' by The Proclaimers to the delight of the crowd, albeit with a somewhat hoarse voice.

The stalwart music performer of the team Kevin McManamon was up next, and delivered a superb version of Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl', with the help of Ann Grimes, who became a viral hit with her 'Ah Here, Leave it Out' video.

The Sunday Game player of the Year Jack McCaffrey, who was ill and on a drip three days prior to the final, played down the illness as him simply being "a bit under the weather".

However, McCaffrey admitted he missed the last five minutes of the game as he had to "run off to get sick".


Sunday's man of the match Brian Fenton described how he was "living the dream", while Alan Brogan reacted to the crowd's chants of "one more year" by replying "I'll enjoy this win for now".

Manager Jim Gavin thanked the Dublin fans for their continued support during the season, describing the noise from the Hill during the final as "electrifying".

"We had extraordinary support all season from the first game, to the away days in Cork, and it peaked during the replay (against Mayo).

"The boys certainly felt the electricity coming from the Hill, and it certainly spurred us on," Gavin said.

Paul Flynn rounded off the homecoming celebrations, saying it was a "special occasion".

"Listen, any time we bring Sam back it's fantastic, and this year to bring it back to O'Connell Street is a special occasion.

"For all you people to come out here in numbers on a Monday evening is brilliant. So thanks for the support, and let's win it again next year," Flynn said to cheers from the crowd.

The team, along with the Sam Maguire trophy, then made its way to Coolock, the home of captain Stephen Cluxton's club Parnell's, where the celebrations continued.

Earlier, the All-Ireland champions paid a special visit to the brave youngsters at Crumlin Children's Hospital.

"Being here really brings it home how privileged we are," said Dublin star Jonny Cooper. "It brings it right back down to reality after yesterday's highs."

Irish Independent

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