TO MARK one of the most iconic moments in Limerick’s sporting history, John Kiely and his Limerick squad greeted tens of thousands of hardcore fans who lined the streets from Colbert Station to the Gaelic Grounds on Monday evening.
The Limerick Leader was there to capture the sensational scenes, from the moment captain Declan Hannon departed 5.40pm train until the coveted Liam MacCarthy Cup was valiantly lifted to a sea of thousands at the Ennis Road stadium.
The victorious team first greeted a wave of green and white at Colbert Station before hopping on the open-top party bus, which patiently strode through the city centre.
It is estimated that there were north of 80,000 Limerick fans between the city centre and the Gaelic Grounds, a mammoth crowd not seen since the Giant Granny sauntered through Limerick in September 2014.
Waving to the thousands of supporters, an elated John Kiely told the Limerick Leader: “[I am] super proud. It’s an absolutely incredible scene and what we are witnessing here is just incredible, the whole of O’Connell Street is absolutely flooded with people.”
The cavalcade would not be made possible without the calm and cool driver, Frank Ryan—a St Mary’s Park man—who parked the bus at the Gaelic Grounds shortly after 7pm.
Delivering a powerful speech on the homecoming stage, addressing one of the biggest crowds ever seen at the Gaelic Grounds, proud midfielder Cian Lynch said:
“People forget, too, that there is life before hurling and there is laugh after hurling. These lads will be battling on the field and we will go out and kill each other next week at club championship. But, at the end of the day, we will be able to pick up the phone and realise that these boys are our brothers at the end of the day.”
- Pick up this Wednesday’s edition of The Leader newspaper and this weekend’s Limerick Leader broadsheet for more extensive coverage on Limerick’s historic victory and sensational homecoming celebrations