Rugby giants given heroes' welcome as they arrive home
The fact that they came back without any silverware didn’t matter to the scores of dedicated rugby fans who gave the Irish team a heroes’ welcome as they arrived home from the Rugby World Cup.
The squad touched down in Dublin Airport shortly after 4.30pm yesterday and Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien received a huge roar as they were the first of the team members to walk through the doors.
After posing for endless photographs with the crowds, the team boarded a bus, and it is understood they will now have a couple of weeks off.
Among the supporters who travelled to the airport were Donna Malone and her daughter Jennifer (16).
“We are big rugby fans. Jennifer loves all the lads so we had to come today. The team need you when they lose as much as they need you when they win,” Ms Malone said.
Fan Steve Cashel (25), from Dublin, also travelled out to the airport, and said: “They just make me so proud.” Joe Schmidt shared this pride and praised the entire squad for their performances, despite their injuries.
He also said he “couldn’t have been prouder” of their efforts against Argentina, despite being beaten 43-20 on Sunday in the quarter-final in Cardiff.
And the New Zealand native paid tribute to the Irish fans, saying: “It has been overwhelming. I think the players were blown away, particularly during the French match, with the volume of support that we had. We are incredibly disappointed, but at the same time we are really appreciative of that volume of support.”