30,000 welcome champions home
06 September 2011
Henry Shefflin with his son Henry (20 months) and Michael Kavanagh with his son Charlie (2) on the team bus during the Kilkenny homecoming ©INPHO/James Crombie
An estimated 30,000 Kilkenny supporters braved the elements to welcome home the 2011 All-Ireland hurling champions last night.
The team arrived back into McDonagh Station by train just before 6pm with the coveted Liam McCarthy Cup where they received a rapturous welcome before making their way through the Marble City on an open-top bus. Kilkenny captain Brian Hogan told the crowd how Sunday's 2-17 to 1-16 victory over Tipperary had helped him to forget about the disappointment of last year's defeat to the same opposition.
"Twelve months ago we were here at an all-time low. We came back from Croke Park having lost something very important to us. There is one thing this group of players doesn't do and that's losing." He said.
Manager Brian Cody was already thinking ahead to next year and the prospect of winning an ninth All-Ireland as Cats manager.
"The months will pass by and next year will be here. They will just go and play hurling, that is what they do," he said.
"Young people see these hurlers as their heroes and we want to see them getting out their hurleys and wanting to be the next Tommy Walsh."
At the specially-erected stage in the Market Yard, second half substitute John Mulhall stole the show with a song - based on the kc & the Sunshine Band 80s hit 'Give it Up' - which he had written for the occasion.
Among the lyrics were: "Now we've taken back our throne . . . JJ Delaney has no job! . . . Tipperary pog mo thoin . . . the Liam McCarthy's come home."