IRELAND'S Grand Slam-winning women's rugby team were treated to a rapturous welcome at Dublin Airport – but the bruising test against Italy at the weekend left two players suffering from hypothermia.
Hundreds of supporters were there to welcome home the rugby heroines at the airport yesterday.
The women's rugby side beat all their opponents in the Six Nations championship, finishing with a tough clash in freezing conditions in Milan on Sunday.
Captain Fiona Coghlan said that it was an "ugly" win but the team were overwhelmed by the support.
"I don't think it has fully sunk in yet. There have been a few tears – tears of joy," she said. "Coming back into Dublin, we were a bit shocked that there were so many people here."
Fiona (32), from Clontarf, is a secondary school PE and maths teacher at Lucan Community College and said that the amateur women's team stepped up in terms of commitment.
"This year we were fitter, stronger and the game management in particular has been good," she said.
"When we were under pressure, we absorbed it. there was no panic
"We knew we were capable."
The close 6-3 victory over Italy was particularly tough, with driving rain and freezing cold conditions that churned up the field and left players with injuries and exposure.
"People were getting cramps in the first half. It was bitterly cold – two of the girls got hypothermia at the end of the game.
"The ground was so hard that the ball was bouncing like a basketball – all we could do was laugh, it was just so slippy.
"It was an ugly game, but we won ugly," she added.