Taylor flies the flag as Team Ireland arrives in Dublin
Olympic champion Katie Taylor fought back tears as she returned in triumph to her home town of Bray this evening.
Events also took place in Mullingar and Belfast this evening to welcome home medal winners John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan.
A massive crowd estimated at 20,000 gathered on Bray seafront to welcome home Ireland’s only gold medallist of the London games.
Taylor paraded in an open top bus through the town before being introduced to the crowd by RTÉ presenter Des Cahill.
The normally quiet-living Taylor was out partying until 3am this morning and had to get up at 6am. She confessed to being tired but exhilarated by the reception she received.
“It’s incredible. Thank you for all the support I got over the last few years. The support I got in the ExCeL Arena, it blew my mind really, it surpassed all my dreams,” she said surveying the sea of faces which stretched for several hundred yards down Bray seafront.
Taylor went on to thank everybody for all their prayers while she was boxing for an Olympic title.
She struggled to compose herself when she recalled her gold medal-winning fight on Friday afternoon in front of thousands of cheering Irish supporters.
“I felt the presence of God in that stadium,” she said. The crowd cheered even louder. “Thanks everybody for your support, your prayers. I’m so glad to bring the gold medal back. This medal belongs to everybody here. Without your support, I would not be in this situation.
“I have a great team behind me, I wouldn’t be in this situation without them.”
Taylor confessed to wanting to get some sleep and also to visit her 80-year-old grandmother Kathleen Cranley who she has not seen since departing for the Olympic Games.
Flags, bunting and cheers filled the streets of Mullingar as Olympic silver medalist John Joe Nevin and Olympic Event Rider Joseph Murphy were paraded through the streets of Mullingar.
John Joe Nevin had a surprise visitor, when One Direction’s NiallHoran flew in especially for the event. Niall spent time with John Joe at a private event in Belvedre House and Gardens.
Niall received a warm welcome at Cusack Park where he told the massive crowd he had been lucky enough to see John Joe fight in London on three occasions. “I told him I would roll out the red carpet for him so here it is,” Niall remarked.
While Niall received a warm reception, the crowds lifted the roof of the stand when John Joe and Joseph Murphy entered the stadium. The pair paraded for the crowds while John Joe showed off his trademark, Mullingar Shuffle for the delighted audience.
“First of all I would like to thank everyone for being here today it’s a dream come true for me to come back and get represented by such a big crowd,” John Joe Nevin told the gathering.
“It means a lot to have my family here today without my mother and father I mightn’t have been here today,” the humble boxer said.
“You might have seen me pointing up at the skies when I was over there, that was for my cousin David who passed away in February. He was another big inspiration,” he remarked.
Admitting he would “love to go back and fight for a gold medal”, John Joe said he plans to take three weeks off to relax before making any decisions on what he might do in the future. However, he didn’t ruleout the prospect of turning professional.
Speaking about his defeat to Luke Campbell, John Joe said, “I have no excuses. The better man won on the day and I take my hat off to Luke Campbell.”