With bonfires, flags, fireworks and huge crowds all over Manorhamilton, you could see that new European silver medalist Déarbhla Rooney was stunned by the scale of her reception home last Thursday evening, as seen by the accompanying photographs from James Molloy.
With Déarbhla keeping her focus fully on her performances in Roseto degli Abruzzi in Central Italy, the young Mullies woman was not really aware of how much her performances had captured the imagination of her local community and the county of Leitrim.
And even despite a poor wi-fi in Italy, Déarbhla revealed that even the Irish coaching team was surprised by the scale of the reaction to her performances on social media.
“It was fantastic,” Déarbhla told the Observer, “The wi-fi over there was terrible but I was getting bits of it now and again, I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that was on social media. And even the coaches were saying me that they were seeing me all over Facebook, the Grenade from Glenade.”
But even the Grenade from Glenade was blown away by the scale of the reception in Manorhamilton last Thursday - a cavalcade of cars greeting her at the new Glencar/Manorhamilton pitch in Boggaun before a string of bonfires, flags and fireworks on the way into Manorhamilton.
A tour of the town followed by a packed out reception in Sean McDermott Boxing Club before the evening eventually ended with a few screenings of her semi-final victory in Gurn's Milestone Bar.
But it was obvious that Déarbhla was stunned by the reaction - “I can’t believe it, it still hasn’t sunk in yet. The reception when I came back here was amazing, I’m speechless. It was lovely, I was tired when I was flying back but seeing everyone there at the airport first was lovely and coming here, I didn’t expect to see so many people.”
And it is obvious that Déarbhla is determined to build on her amazing success with the Grenade from Glenade determined to go straight back into training - “Straight back into training, I want to get a good crack at these worlds. Football will have to take a back seat unfortunately but hopefully, it will pay off.
“If I had beaten the Slovakian in the Final, I would have qualified for the World Youth Olympics in November. I’m not sure what the Qualifying is but I have another chance of going to the Youth Olympics depending on how I do in the Worlds in August.”
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