WATCH: Players get in the Christmas spirit as Ireland's World Cup heroes are welcomed home in style
Christmas came early for the Irish women’s hockey team who celebrated their historic silver medal finish at the Hockey World Cup on Sunday with a rousing Christmas song and dance that brought Dame Street to a standstill.
Although the Yuletide celebration is more than five months away, the team broke into an upbeat ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ as more than a thousand family, friends, fellow hockey players and proud well wishers gathered outside Dublin City hall yesterday for a raucous homecoming celebration.
😂😂 Christmas songs at the #Irishhockey homecoming!! What a wonderful group of talented, charming & humble young women. An honour & a pleasure to MC the event for @LordMayorDublin - very well organised! pic.twitter.com/UcNppgJoKM— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) August 6, 2018
The choice of song was inspired by the team’s excitement on the eve of the final, competing as underdogs at the Hockey World Cup which they said generated the same butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation as Christmas inspires in children.
They sang it before the historic showdown with the Netherlands at London’s Lee Valley Stadium. And even though they were defeated, 6-0, their David and Goliath struggle has made them the underdog heroes the world over.
Arriving at Dublin Airport to a hero’s welcome yesterday, team captain Katie Mullan said: “It means the absolute world to me, we went over to this tournament, we wanted to make an impact - and boy did we make an impact. We were ranked 15th and to be standing here with a silver medal we exceeded all expectations,” she said.
“In terms of leading the girls, it was a great privilege to run down the tunnel first and wear the armband but we have an incredible number of leaders in this group and everyone leads the team in their own right,” she said.
“I‘m just the lucky one who gets to wear the armband. They’re a very easy group to captain, everyone listens, everyone cares so much. When you get a group of people with a common goal it is very easy to bring them together because they’re prepared to do whatever it takes.”