REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** Ireland Rugby Team Return To Dublin Airport Onboard Aer Lingus flight EI159 18/3/2018 The Grand Slam winning Ireland Rugby team touched down at Dublin Airport this afternoon on Aer Lingus flight EI159 which was welcomed and escorted upon arrival by Dublin Airport fire services. Aer Lingus Ground Staff and Cabin crew formed a guard of honour at the steps of ‘Green Spirit’ which carried Joe Schmidt and his players, keenly accompanied by the Six Nations and Triple Crown trophies. Aer Lingus’ Green Spirit aircraft has been specially branded to mark the airline’s support for the team as the Official Airline of the IRFU. Carrying the team and supporters to both away games this season in Paris and London, Aer Lingus continues to bring Home Advantage wherever we play. Pictured is Jonathan Sexton, Rory Best, James Ryan and Conor Murray Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Dubliners abounded in the heroic Irish rugby team that swept to just a third grand slam victory on St Patrick’s Day as they raided Twickenham to add the silverware to the Six Nations title that was already in the bank.

St Mary’s College graduate Johnny Sexton provided the tournament’s iconic moment in game one when he landed the crucial drop goal deep into injury time to secure victory over France.

He was once again pulling the strings from number ten against the English and was joined in the line-up by Clontarf’s Cian Healy, a long-time team mate over the last decade.

Blackrock’s Garry Ringrose was in the centres, scoring a key early try following his race back from fitness to come into a back-line ravaged by injury.

Reflecting on his role in the victory, Ringrose said: “It’s amazing position to be in as a country, considering there’s five or six guys, if not more, between all the provinces who have been battling it out for the 12 and 13 jerseys – with a lot of guys capable of playing both numbers.

“There was some incredible work put in by Robbie [Henshaw] and then Chris [Farrell] in the earlier rounds, and then for me it was just about trying to match that.

“I’m well aware that I’m incredibly lucky to be in the position that I am, off the back of Robbie and Chris’ injuries.

“I know if they hadn’t picked them up that I wouldn’t be in the position that I am. I won’t forget how lucky I am.”

He added that is was “certainly one of the best weeks and most intense weeks that I’ve been involved in”, hailing the team’s preparation for the biggest game in recent times.

James Ryan is another Blackrock native, formerly of St Michael’s College, forming part of the new breed of players coming through, lining out in the second row along with another Michael’s man Dan Leavy who was in the back row.

St Andrew’s College graduates Andrew Porter and Jordan Larmour both came off the bench as did Blackrock College alumni Jordi Murphy, St Mary’s Jack McGrath and Castleknock College’s Devin Toner.