Rousing welcome home for Galway hurlers   02/10/2012

Thousands turn out at Pearse Stadium for return of the squad

A crowd of more than 6,000 people turned out in Pearse Stadium last night to welcome home the Galway Senior Hurling team after Sunday's All-Ireland Final replay against Kilkenny in Croke Park, giving them a rousing reception to try help offset some of the disappointment of the defeat.

The team bus carrying the Galway players and management was due to arrive at the Salthill venue by 7pm, but a couple of unscheduled stops along the way meant it was closer to 9pm before the bus finally pulled up at the county's flagship GAA ground.

The travelling party stopped in Athlone for a bite to eat and some refreshments on their way back West yesterday afternoon, and the team bus also made a trip to Cappataggle, the parish of goalkeeper James Skehill, who was only able to line out on Sunday after receiving a pain-killing injection for a shoulder injury, before succumbing to the inevitable at half-time, to be replaced by Fergal Flannery.

While they were waiting for the panel to arrive back, the thousands of fans in Pearse Stadium were able to watch highlights of Galway's year on two giant screens, which were erected on the Dr Mannix Road side of the ground.

When the team bus finally pulled up, the crowd numbers was swelled by those who had followed the team on their journey back home, and the players and management received a huge welcome from fans who, while disappointed with Sunday's result, were appreciative of the effort put in all year, and the fact the panel made history when capturing the Leinster title earlier in the year.

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