THOUSANDS turned out for Dublin’s double All-Ireland Senior Football winning celebrations in Merrion Square on Sunday, with plenty of South Dublin stars among those honoured at the official homecoming organised by Dublin City Council.
Players from both the senior men’s and ladies football squads were honoured at the Mansion House, before travelling to Merrion square where 16,000 fans gathered for the all-ticket event.
It was the first time both the senior men’s and ladies footballers shared the stage for such an event.
The men’s side were celebrating their historic five-in-a-row All-Ireland success; with the ladies honoured after delivering All-Ireland silverware for the third year in-a-row for the first time.
Reflecting on the year, Player of the Month for September Con O’Callaghan said it was nice to get a full campaign in this year.
“It was the first time I got to play in the National League, because I was with the club previously,” the Cuala clubman said.
“That was a different challenge for me, so that was great. Then the few Super-8 games were great, and obviously to come back after the draw against Kerry the first day, it was amazing to come out on top. It was a brilliant year!”
One of Kilmacud Crokes rising stars, Cian O’Connor, was delighted to be involved in the set-up.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s just a privilege to represent the group when you get the chance and just being a part of it is brilliant.”
Davey Byrne was one of the heroes of this All-Ireland win, popping up from his defensive berth to score a point in the final replay.
“I was surprised as anyone when it went over, but I’m delighted!” the Naomh Olaf clubman said.
“This is my seventh year on the panel, so I’ve been around for a long time. Year-on-year with the training, you get it in the bank, and you get better and better.”
Dublin ladies joint vice-captain Sinead Goldrick said it was brilliant to see such support.
“We are proud, we love our sport,” the Foxrock-Cabinteely player said.
“There was 56,000 at the All-Ireland final, and all of the people here today. We want to be role models for young boys and girls. Sport plays a huge role in our lives and it’s just so special that we have this group together.
Ballinteer St John’s Orlagh Nolan said it was great to see such a crowd.
“It’s absolutely incredible to see everyone coming out. You wouldn’t really imagine when you start out that this is a day that you are going to have – but it’s unbelievable.”
These were sentiments echoed by Cuala’s Jennifer Dunne and Kilmacud’s Rachel Fleming.
“It’s great. The numbers are huge and it’s just great to see everyone out supporting us and the lads – it’s just a great weekend and a great day for Dublin Gaelic football,” Dunne said.
Fleming added: “[Playing for Dublin] is always something you think about. I was playing on the underage teams, and when I got the call it was so nerve-wracking coming in.
“Everyone else is there and you are the new kid and you have to get used to everything that’s happening, but everyone is so inclusive.
“We are a team and everyone takes care of each other.”