Thousands turn out for historic Dublin homecoming

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Thousands of fans and the Lord Mayor welcomed the champion Dublin men’s and ladies footballers home at a celebration at Merrion Square this afternoon.

A sell-out crowd of 15,000 enjoyed live music and analysis before the stars took to the stage.

Broadcaster Marty Morrissey interviewed players from the men’s and women’s panels.

The three-in-a-row champions came out first raising the Brendan Martin Cup to huge applause from the fans.

Despite the success of the past three years, the players said that they never imagined when they were young that they would see a day like today.

Although they are riding high at the moment, they haven’t forgotten the years of work that it took to get them where they are today.

Vice captain Ciara Trant said that going through the tough times together helped them to grow as a team.

“We went through the tough days together and then to come out the right side of the result for the last three years has been fantastic.

“It’s really brought us closer together and we have memories now that are gonna last for the rest of our lives and days like today we’re going to carry with us.”

Fellow vice captain Sinéad Goldrick echoed Trant’s sentiments.

“I think Niamh Collins said ‘we learned how to lose and then we learned how to win’ and I think that’s a really important thing and that kind of cemented us together.”

Thirteen players from the team are All Star nominees for 2019 but they aren’t getting ahead of themselves with talk of four-in-a-row.

The champs are taking it in their stride and just savouring the moment.

Fans eagerly awaited the arrival of the men’s senior team who made it five-in-a-row after an agonising wait and a tense replay.

Paul Mannion described the moment the final whistle blew as one of pure relief after being put to the test by a tough Kerry side.

Captain Stephen Cluxton gave credit to all the people involved in making history this season.

“There is so much work done in the background by the guys and in training, the guys are hungry to win the football.

“So they make it very difficult for me and then it’s probably a lot easier on the match day because you’re hoping the opposition don’t know as much as these guys.”

Bernard Brogan gave fans an insight into his future and whether he would be part of the team hoping to make it six-in-a-row in 2020.

“I was just talking to Jim there for the first time out the back there and I said we would have a coffee during the week.

“So I’ll meet Jim and have a chat and we’ll see.

“I’m not giving up yet, we’re gonna see what happens during the week. I am very old but we’ll see what happens.”

Kevin McManamon entertained the crowds with a rendition of Grace.

It was all smiles in the capital as the historic celebrations came to an end and fans began to cautiously wonder if they would return to celebrate once again next year.

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