Bray, Mullingar and Belfast to welcome heroes

Despite the unseemly row and initial uncertainty surrounding the official homecoming for the Irish Olympic team in the capital, the home towns of Katie Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes were last night putting the finishing touches to their celebrations.

Only officials and the media will be allowed to attend a small ceremony and press conference for the 66 olympians at Dublin Airport today.

Fans have been urged to stay away from the airport today and to wait for the official homecoming event at the Mansion House at lunchtime at Wednesday.

A massive homecoming event is being planned for Katie Taylor in Bray tonight. Thousands are expected to line the streets of her hometown as she makes her way in an open-top bus to the town’s seafront. Separate events will also take place in Mullingar for silver medal-winning boxer John Joe Nevin and in Belfast for bronze medal-winning boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan.

The only other athlete with a medal, bronze-winning show jumper Cian O’Connor, returned home last week. He has been asked to come to the airport tomorrow.

Bray Town Council has urged fans to ‘Get Out and Shout’ one more time as it announced its programme of events to welcome Katie and Adam Nolan.

Live music will begin at Bray bandstand at 3pm and the open-top bus is due to arrive at the town’s seafront at 5pm. A massive fireworks display will take place at 9.30pm.

The council have advised that anyone planning on attending this event should take public transport where possible.

Meanwhile, officials in John Joe Nevin’s home town have insisted a red carpet celebration of his Olympic success was never in doubt.

The boxer from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, who is from a Traveller background, had expressed disappointment that his exploits at a second Games were effectively snubbed.

But the local council has prepared for several thousand well wishers to hit the streets for one of the classiest boxers at London 2012.

Peter Burke, the outgoing mayor of Mullingar, said Nevin should be publicly praised.

His homecoming celebrations will include an open top bus tour led by the town band from where he grew up in the Patrick Street area of the town at 6.30pm tonight before a reception in the Westmeath GAA grounds of Cusack Park.

The mayor said that locals were now looking to Nevin as a hero alongside showband great Joe Dolan and One Direction’s Niall Horan.

“The unfortunate thing in Mullingar is that we have not got a boxing ring especially now when you consider that now Mullingar is better known for its boxing that its music,” he said.

In Belfast, an event has been organised at the Titanic centre for Conlan and Barnes — the first Irish boxer to secure two of the medals at consecutive Games.


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