Hundreds of Irish fans gathered at Dublin Airport today to welcome Ireland’s soccer team home from France.
The boys in green touched down on Irish soil a little after 3pm GMT. It was just over 24 hours since they were ousted from the round of 16 in the Euro Cup in a 2 – 1 loss against France, but that defeat was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind as the team was cheered for their valiant effort, which far exceeded most people’s expectations.
As one spectator succintly put it:
The team and managers were met on the tarmac by Minister for Sport Shane Ross and Minister for State Patrick Donovan, where they were toasted at a small party in their honor.
Speaking with reporters, manager Martin O’Neill thanked all of the dedicated Irish fans. “I am a very, very proud Irish man. Thank you from the bottom of my heart…The journey’s only beginning with these young players.”
As they departed the airport, they were greeted by hundreds of cheering fans donning the Irish colors.
The celebrating might not yet be over, though, as Noel Rock, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, has called for a civic reception for Team Ireland.
Next up for the team will be the World Cup qualifying rounds in Serbia in September.
In the meantime, it seems that the Irish fans are still quite reluctant to leave France.