Sunday 23 September 2018

WATCH: 'We are going for a few pints' - Ireland's Grand Slam champions return home to a heroes' welcome

Ireland's Cian Healy and Jordi Murphy with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Cian Healy and Jordi Murphy with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland's Cian Healy with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Cian Healy collects his passport and flight tickets with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Cian Healy arrives with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Jordan Lamour with the Triple Crown in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Laura Lynott at the Shelbourne Hotel

THE Irish rugby team returned home to a heroes' welcome as a crowd descended at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel to greet the sporting superstars.

Despite the anticipated homecoming being cancelled at the Aviva Stadium due to the snow, hundreds of loyal fans waited outside the hotel to show their appreciation for Ireland's victory.

Bundee Aki's little girl Adrianna shouted "Daddy" and the player embraced her as he entered the hotel.

The little girl had been patiently waiting for her dad's return with her family and she jumped with excitement when the team's bus arrived at the hotel.

James Ryan paid a special tribute to the green army who'd supported the team to glory in Twickenham and it was clear the party was about to get underway.

"We're going to have a few pints, that's how we're celebrating.  It's great to be back home. My folks and the family will be heading in soon so that'll be great," an elated Ryan said.

Ireland captain Rory Best. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ireland captain Rory Best. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ireland's Six Nations coverage is brought to you by Aer Lingus. #HomeAdvantage
Bundee Aki pictured with his daughter Adrianna (6) as The Irish Rugby Team arrived home at The Shelbourne Hotel today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Bundee Aki and Tadhg Furlong pictured as The Irish Rugby Team arrived home at The Shelbourne Hotel today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; CJ Stander of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Peter O'Mahony of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland stops for a selfie with an Ireland supporter during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; CJ Stander of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Garry Ringrose of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Garry Ringrose of Ireland is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Ireland captain Rory Best is greeted by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
18 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland stops for a selfie with an Ireland supporter during the Ireland Rugby homecoming at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland's Six Nations coverage is brought to you by Aer Lingus. #HomeAdvantage

"To the fans, thanks so much for the support. Yesterday was amazing and to get the win was incredible but to the Irish that were there and to those who stayed there after the game, to see how much this means to them, it makes it all so worthwhile.

"Thanks for the support.  We knew going into the game it was a big one but we stayed focused. For me I focused on what I had to do and that was it."

Ireland's Cian Healy collects his passport and flight tickets with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Ireland's Cian Healy collects his passport and flight tickets with the Six Nations trophy in London Heathrow before boarding a delayed flight to Dublin. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Rob Kearney looked in relaxed form as he thanked Joe Schmidt for being the Irish coach who's set to go down in history for leading the team to Six Nations and Grand Slam glory.

"We had an exciting tour away from home for three tests." Kearney said.

"We are continuing to build and get better as a team and that is always our purpose.

"I've been lucky to be a part of the Leinster days and I've personally had a huge amount of backing from Joe as a coach over the years. When you get the backing from a coach like him it means a huge amount.

"What he's achieved in the game speaks for itself, he's done a huge amount of things no other Irish coach has done for us  he's a superb coach and it's meant a lot to us. His medal locker speaks for it."

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