THERE were joyous scenes outside City Hall this Thursday night as Limerick’s victorious under-21s enjoyed a hero’s homecoming.
‘We are the Champions’ blazed out of the loudspeakers as more than 500 people packed Merchant’s Quay to welcome home the side who defeated Wexford last Saturday evening in Thurles.
The hurlers entered City Hall by the river, before walking through the glazed street and being met by a rapturous reception by a crowd including JP McManus, AP McCoy, plus local politicians.
The players were introduced club-by-club and were greeted with a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd who travelled to the city from across the whole county.
Centre-forward Cian Lynch, of Patrickswell, had warm words for Limerick’s fans, more than 10,000 of whom travelled to Thurles last week.
He said: “You don’t understand what your support means to us.”
And he vowed: “We won’t rest on our laurels. We will go again.”
Mayor Liam Galvin said: “With an inspirational captain in Diarmaid Byrnes leading from the front, this team has put Limerick hurling firmly back on the map. Who is to say that this nunch of lads will not go into help deliver such success for us in the coming years. Today, you stand before Limerick City Hall as returning victors ans as Limerick’s newest sporting ambassadors”.
County board chairman Oliver Mann said hopes are high for the future: “We are on track and I am confident the Liam McCarthy cup will take up residence here before too long”.
The night finished with a rousing rendition of ‘Limerick, You’re a Lady’, sung by Denis Allen.