By Cóilín Duffy
Ireland's athletics team received a hero's welcome after the 40-strong team returned from the European Championships this afternoon to Dublin Airport.
The squad touched down from Berlin an hour later than planned on FR8557, with bronze 400 metres hurdles medalist Thomas Barr among the happy faces coming through Terminal 1.
Barr was greeted by his family and friends and members of the Ferrybank A.C. club in Waterford.
"I'm no longer the fourth placer now!," he said.
"I was living off Rio for long enough. I finally have that third place, so I just have to go one better next time!"
Barr says the bronze medal has been a huge boost to his confidence going forward.
"This is massive. I knew that there was a low-48 time in me this year, but it just hadn't come out. I was just so glad it came out at the right time.
"I'm going to go forward into next year with a massive amount of confidence. I'm a marked man again on the circuit, but it's been fantastic."
Barr was keen to thank all of those who have helped him on his journey so far.
"I have to thank everyone who has helped me to get to this point, and hopefully there is more to come," he said.
"Thanks to my coaches, my family, my friends and my physio - everyone that has put all of the work into it.
"I just want to say thanks to everyone that has supported me as well. The messages of support have been unbelievable."
It was a superb Championships overall for Ireland in terms of athletics, with Ciara Mageean taking fourth place in the 1500m final, along with a quickest ever time for the Irish Womens 4x100m relay team among the highlights.
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"It was a very positive performance overall," Barr said.
"It was a big team that we had out there. Irish athletics and Irish sport at the moment is in a really good place.
"It's all been very positive, so I am glad that we have come home with a positive story as well from the European Championships."