Tens of thousands of Tipperary fans gathered in Thurles tonight to welcome home their double All-Ireland Hurling champions, after yesterday’s Senior and Minor triumphs at Croke Park, writes Cóilín Duffy.
‘We are the Champions’ rang out as the Senior team arrived on stage at Semple Stadium shortly before 8pm to thousands of screaming supporters.
It was the first time both the Liam MacCarthy and Irish Press Cups were in Tipperary in the one year since 1949, after they pulled off a Senior-Minor double.
The Minor team was first introduced to the large crowds, before the Senior team arrived on stage.
No words! Tipp Champions😄😄😄 pic.twitter.com/ZhsMrLQbik— Pat Quirke (@patquirke) September 5, 2016
Having been involved as a selector when Tipperary last held the MacCarthy Cup in 2010, Michael Ryan addressed the crowds as a Premier County All-Ireland Senior winning manager.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be with you this evening. It really means a huge amount to us - the two teams, and the back room panel and the management team to see this crowd assembled to welcome us home,” he said.
“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world today, other than here with our own in our pitch, in the capital of hurling in Tipp - which is Thurles.
“Thank you very, very much for turning up and being with us.
“You were with us all year, and you were with us yesterday when it really counted.
“A thousand of you were with us last night to celebrate the two teams as well.
“You have no idea what it means to us when you really get behind us, and the match is in the melting pot and we hear you roar, and these boys doing something special and you react.
“We are of you, we are amongst you and we can’t wait to get back to you.
"This is for ye, the people of Tipperary, and we are all in it together - so thank you very, very much."
Tipperary Senior captain Brendan Maher was also high in his praise of the loyal supporters.
“It’s a great honour for me to stand before you along with this fantastic bunch of players as the 2016 All-Ireland Champions,” the Borrisoleigh clubman said.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has come here tonight from us as a group of players.
“We really appreciate your support. Ye have driven us on all year and the numbers that are here are unbelievable. We can’t believe the support that we have had.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of something new for Tipperary, because we are desperate for more success.
"We hope that in 2017 we’ll continue and we will bring Liam MacCarthy back again."
Earlier, a large number of players from the Tipperary squads made the customary post All-Ireland Final visit to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin.