Kilkenny All-Ireland homecoming: 'GAA is part of our DNA. It holds us together'

Kilkenny All-Ireland homecoming: 'GAA is part of our DNA. It holds us together'
Picture: Kilkenny GAA

The Kilkenny minor and senior hurlers were welcomed back to the Marble city by several thousands of members of the public despite their heavy losses to Galway and Tipperary.

Hundreds turned out for the post-match banquet at the Citywest hotel on Sunday night despite a disappointing day in Croke park where Tipperary secured their 28th All-Ireland senior title.

They claimed the Liam McCarthy Cup with one of the largest scores of 3-25 to 20 points to Kilkenny on Sunday.

The Galway minors clinched their third win in a row with minimum fuss and a victory of 3-14 to 12 points for Kilkenny.

The teams were welcomed onto the stage by Caothairleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness and singer Claire Walsh with a rendition of the Rose of Mooncoin.

Kilkenny Mayor Martin Brett told the crowd; “They gave us their best. They didn’t win on the day but they are still our heroes. Tonight was a chance to say thank you to both teams. It’s the right thing to welcome them home.

The GAA is the glue that holds all of us together. It’s part of our DNA in this city and county. It’s onwards and upwards for these teams. Both managers are true black and amber men.

Despite Kilkenny’s mauling, the county is the most successful ever in the game of hurling. The county has won the All-Ireland Senior Championship 36 times.

Fans listened to appeals by Paul Fitzgerald, Press Officer for the Kilkenny County Board, to turn out in numbers for the homecoming at Nowlan park.

Entertainment started at 4pm with a replay of the All-Ireland Senior hurling match along with music provided by band, The Kilkennys as the weather stayed dry for homecoming.

Road closures were in place from 3pm with the Hebron Road from the O’Loughlin Road Junction to the Castlecomer Road Junction closed.

The team arrived at the Grounds of the Castle at 6.30pm up to 30 minutes behind the estimated arrival time of 6pm. They travelled by open top buses from the Parade, through Rose Anne and John Streets eventually arriving at Nowlan Park after 7.20pm.

The minor team were first on the stage followed several minutes later by the senior team.

Minor hurling team manager Richie Mulroney told the crowd that, “ It was an absolute pleasure working with these men. They gave it their all and they should be proud.”

A massive three cheers rang out for both teams as the senior team took to the stage.

Manager Brian Cody thanked all the supporters who met them along the journey and in Nowlan Park.

“We are hugely disappointed and we didn’t get the chance to fight it out to the bitter end. To have 15 men compete against 15 men. Instead we had just 14 men. We should be so proud of our players.

“The team kept going with real spirit. We have outstanding satisfaction with the players. Everyone played a very important part in the whole journey and final match.

“The teachers, parents and coaches are so important to our clubs in the county. We are bitterly disappointed that we don’t have silverware. But we have great players for the future.”

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