Newly crowned WBO Middleweight champion Andy Lee has returned home to a hero’s welcome.
Lee was greeted at the foot of the aircraft by and embraced his mother Ann - his father Tom having already travelled over to London to meet him following Andy’s flight there on Monday from LA – in what was an emotional reunion for both.
Said Andy: “It’s a dream come true to be back here in Shannon. I’ve always had this dream to be standing here with a world title belt and it’s almost surreal now it’s happened.
“To see all the media, all the fans here. It’s incredible.”
Andy’s mother said she could now finally believe it’s true. “It was no bluff when he said that he wanted to come back to Shannon as World Champion. That’s what he dreamed of and he’s achieved it. We go on to Limerick from here for a civic reception. It’s unbelievable. I’m so proud.”
She was only one of a large crowd gathered to welcome the boxer as soon as he landed in Shannon.
Lee was happy to pose for photographs with fans before making the trip to Limerick city.
He is to be presented to the public on the steps of Limerick’s City Hall this evening at around 5pm before a civic reception in his honour.
In demand. Everyone wants a piece of Andy Lee. pic.twitter.com/e3jnpKhL5U— Tommy Martin (@TommyMartinVM) December 17, 2014
Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey said: “A great thing about Andy, and something we have found out for ourselves today, is that he is a true gent of a really tough sport. I have heard many people talk about their delight that he won this not only for his boxing skills but because he is one of the real good guys of the sport.
“His homecoming today is a very proud moment for Shannon. It was particularly emotional to see him reunited with his mother Anne here as well. It was one of the great moments we’ve seen here and at airports you get many. This region is his home and he is proud of it and the region is incredibly proud of him.”
He was later cheered by the waiting crowds at Limerick City Hal at Merchant's Quay.