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Homecoming Plans For Grand Slam Heroes

Homecoming Plans For Grand Slam Heroes

A civic reception has been planned for the Grand Slam-winning Ireland squad and management, which will be held outside the Mansion House in Dublin at 4.30pm on Sunday.

Fans who missed out on attending Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations title decider in Cardiff will get a chance to celebrate and congratulate Declan Kidney’s men on their fine achievement.

Dawson Street will be closed to traffic tomorrow (Sunday) as preparations are made for the squad’s homecoming event.

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Kidney, his coaching staff, the players and IRFU officials will proceed directly to the Mansion House after touching down at Dublin Airport.

The reception will kick off at 4.30pm and there will be a specially-erected stage for the occasion.

Entry to the reception will be via Nassau Street only and those wishing to attend are advised to arrive no later than 4pm.

The reception will be broadcast live on RTE One television and worldwide on the RTE website, www.rte.ie.

Congratulating the players and coaching staff on the achievement of securing the country’s first Grand Slam since 1948, Taoiseach Brian Cowen led the tributes from various public figures.

“It was a privilege to be in Cardiff today and to witness the team’s courage, remarkable determination and will to win for Ireland,” he said.

“The Irish team’s performance in today’s game and throughout the whole campaign has been nothing short of superb. The players have brought great distinction to themselves and to our country.

‘The scale of the team’s achievement is evident from the fact that the last time Ireland won a Grand Slam was 61 years ago.

‘Today’s triumph will go down in the annals as one of Ireland’s greatest ever sporting victories.

“It has truly been a most memorable season in Irish rugby history and great credit is due to the coach Declan Kidney, team captain Brian O’Driscoll and the entire playing squad.

“Each of the players have displayed great passion, skill and commitment in every game this season. They have led by their example and have made Irish people across the globe proud.

“And what a way to clinch the “Championship – a drop goal right at the death! It certainly was an edge of seat experience but that made it all the more worthwhile.

“Truly worthy champions and a rightful place in Ireland’s long and proud sporting history.”

President of Ireland Mary McAleese, who attended the game and took part in the trophy presentation, also hailed the efforts of Kidney’s side and offered her congratulations on a proud day for Irish rugby and Irish sport.

The President said: “It’s just been the most wonderful sporting day for Ireland. We came here and got the most wonderful welcome, a magnificent stadium, a fantastic game. None of them (the players) giving any quarter.

“Right to the last kick, the excitement was extraordinary. But now a triumphant Irish team who deserve it all, they carry it all home.

“It was just so wonderful to see Brian O’Driscoll step up there to take the cup in his hand and realise that he has achieved a lifetime’s ambition with such a fantastic team. They did us proud today.”