Friends and family gather as Ireland’s Paralympians arrive home

Team won four golds, three silvers and a bronze at the Tokyo games

SB8 100m Breaststroke gold medallist Ellen Keane, with family including her parents Eddie and Laura, on her return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photograph: Sportsfile

SB8 100m Breaststroke gold medallist Ellen Keane, with family including her parents Eddie and Laura, on her return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photograph: Sportsfile

 

Ireland’s Paralympic team arrived back into Dublin Airport on Tuesday night to a tumulteous return.

Family members and supporters waited in Terminal 2 for the team and hung out green, white and orange balloons around the railings in the arrivals area.

The team won four golds, two silvers and a bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics which ended on Sunday night. They arrived back on an Aer Lingus plane at 10.30pm last night.

Among those arriving were double Paralympic champions, tandem cyclists Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal. The pair also won a silver medal.

Garry O’Reilly, H5 time trial bronze medallist, with family on his return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, at Dublin Airport in Dublin. Photograph: Sportsfile
Garry O’Reilly, H5 time trial bronze medallist, with family on his return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, at Dublin Airport in Dublin. Photograph: Sportsfile

Partially sighted Dunleavy said there will be other celebrations in Dublin, the UK where she lives and her father’s home county of Donegal.

Ms McCrystal who is a garda based in Ballybay, Co Monaghan said she was looking forward to seeing her two daughters again.

Team Ireland athletes (from left) Ronan Grimes, Patrick Monahan, Katie George Dunlevy, Martin Gordon, Ellen Keane, Eve McCrystal, Eamonn Byrne, Mary Fitzgerald, Nicole Turner, Pat O'Leary, Patrick Flanagan, Gary O'Reilly, Richael Timothy and Róisín Ní Riain onboard their Aer Lingus flight ahead of their Paralympic homecoming at Heathrow Airport in London. Photograph: Sportsfile
Team Ireland athletes (from left) Ronan Grimes, Patrick Monahan, Katie George Dunlevy, Martin Gordon, Ellen Keane, Eve McCrystal, Eamonn Byrne, Mary Fitzgerald, Nicole Turner, Pat O'Leary, Patrick Flanagan, Gary O'Reilly, Richael Timothy and Róisín Ní Riain onboard their Aer Lingus flight ahead of their Paralympic homecoming at Heathrow Airport in London. Photograph: Sportsfile

The parents of Dubliner Ellen Keane (26), who won gold in the 100m breaststroke were present to greet their daughter.

She told RTÉ that after five years of preparation, which included the delayed Rio games last year, that she is looking forward to some rest.

Eve McCrystal (left) and Katie George Dunlevy, Women’s Tandem B 3000m Individual pursuit, silver, Women’s B tandem road race gold, women’s B time trial gold medalists, on their return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photograph: Sportsfile
Eve McCrystal (left) and Katie George Dunlevy, Women’s Tandem B 3000m Individual pursuit, silver, Women’s B tandem road race gold, women’s B time trial gold medalists, on their return from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Photograph: Sportsfile

“I just want to take some time, chill out, be a normal person for a few weeks and then get back into the pool,” she said.

Para swimmer Nicole Turner (19) who secured a silver medal victory in the 50-metre butterfly, described it as an “amazing” feeling to be reunited with her family.

S6 50m Butterfly Silver medalist Nicole Turner with her mother Bernie Turner at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Sportsfile
S6 50m Butterfly Silver medalist Nicole Turner with her mother Bernie Turner at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Sportsfile

Her mother Bernie described her as an inspiration to all young children who have a disability.

Paralympic sprinter Jason Smyth, the most successful Irish Paralympian in history with six gold medals, arrived back into Belfast separately last week.