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Dublin: 3 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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'I'm off to Ibiza'... Katie Taylor the star attraction as 5,000 turn out for Olympic homecoming

A special event was held in a wet Dublin city centre for Ireland’s athletes this afternoon.

Taylor greets fans.
Taylor greets fans.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

FIVE THOUSAND SUPPORTERS defied the poor weather conditions to welcome Ireland’s Olympians home from London this afternoon.

A large stage was erected on Dublin city’s Dawson Street to host the special reception, which paid tribute to the 66 athletes, around half of which were in attendance, as well as the coaches and back room staff.

RTE’s Des Cahill acted as MC for the reception and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Michael Ring, the Minister for Sport, and president of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey were all presented.

Also invited were former Olympic heroes Michael Carruth, Ronnie Delany and Kenny Egan, and a number of the torch bearers, including the father of the late boxer Darren Sutherland.

The team was introduced to the crowd in a series of groups and the hugely successful boxers were the last to come out.

Unsurprisingly, gold medallist Katie Taylor was awarded the biggest cheer of the day.

“The support has been incredible,” Taylor said. “I’m a bit nervous standing up here in front of everyone. We just want to thank everyone for support.

We wouldn’t have got these medals without the support, so thanks everyone. Hopefully some young girls coming up are going to be even better than me there’ll be a few Olympic champions out there.

When asked whether she planned to take a well-deserved break, the 25-year-old joked: “I’m going to Ibiza with the lads! I’ll probably come back a raging alcoholic.”

Paddy Barnes responded: “We’re going to Bundoran. Yeah (Taylor could go), if Pete (her father) was alright with it.”

Boxing coach Billy Walsh, whose future has been the subject of speculation in recent days, said: ”We’re all still shattered but it has really lifted us to see the huge crowd here.

Within this group we have some of the best coaches in the world. My ambition is to keep them together for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.”

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Ben Blake

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