PICS: Crowds turn out to welcome Paralympic heroes home to Dublin

PICS: Crowds turn out to welcome Paralympic heroes home to Dublin
Jason Smyth of Ireland shows his gold medal to his 10-month-old daughter Evie, alongside his wife Elise, all from Belfast, which he won in the Men's 100m T13 Final during their homecoming from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Dublin Airport in Dublin. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Ireland's 48-strong Paralympics team arrived to a heroes welcome as over 1,000 supporters turned out at Terminal 1 in Dublin Airport this lunchtime, with 11 medals in tow, writes Cóilín Duffy at Dublin Airport.

Gold medalists Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth; Gold and Bronze medalist Eoghan Clifford along with Gold and Silver medalists Eve McCrystal and Katie Dunleavy received large cheers, as they entered into the Arrivals Hall shortly after 1pm.

There was a tremendous welcome also for Ireland's silver medalists Colin Lynch, Orla Barry and Niamh McCarthy; and bronze medalists Ellen Keane and Noelle Lenihan, along with the rest of the team who certainly done Ireland proud with each of their respective achievements.

Team Ireland medallists, Eoghan Clifford, Eve McCrystal, Katie-George Dunlevy, and Colin Lynch at the homecoming from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Dublin Airport in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Team Ireland medallists, Eoghan Clifford, Eve McCrystal, Katie-George Dunlevy, and Colin Lynch at the homecoming from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Dublin Airport in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Smyth was thrilled such a large crowd turned out at Dublin Airport.

"It's incredible to see the amount of support we have here today," he said.

"The thing is when we are out in Rio it's hard to know what's going on, but it's great to see there has been huge support.

"I have my family here as well so I'm really enjoying it."

Jason's Mum Diane feels her son can book a place in both the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020.

"Well I'm sure he will try his best", she said.

"Unfortunately we didn't get to go to Rio, and it was nerve-wracking watching Jason on the TV!

"I think we would rather be there - next time we will be in Tokyo definitely!"

Galway cyclist Eoghan Clifford claimed Gold in the Mens Time Trial and Silver in the Mens Individual Pursuit C3.

He was thrilled with how the games went for him.

"It was really successful. Beforehand I wanted to come away with three medals, but to get two, including a Gold medal was really, really great.

"The competition in the Paralympics is extremely high. I am racing top national level able-bodied athletes, and the competition out there was really very tough.

"We put in the hard work and it was great to get the results."

Carrigaline's Niamh McCarthy said she was thrilled to pick up a medal at her first games, having claimed silver in the F41 Womens Discus.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It was my first games, but they just went so well for me. I'm delighted to be home, but they were the best three weeks of my life!," she said.

"It was hard to take everything in because it was so overwhelming.

"My competition was nerve-wracking, because I was placed fifth at one stage, but it couldn't have gone better in my own eyes."

Swimmer Nicole Turner was Ireland's youngest team member, but the 14-year old from Portarlington, reached finals in each of the five competitions she took part in.

The Coláiste Iosagain student is already looking ahead to Tokyo 2020.

"Even to get to a Paralympics was unbelievable, but now that it over I'm pretty sad," she said.

"I'm really looking forward to Tokyo now - it's up and beyond!!

"I was really happy with all my races. To compete at that level is hard to believe.

"The support has been unreal. My friends from school were sending me videos of everyone watching in school.

"Now that I'm back and all my friends are here, it was really, really nice."

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