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Ireland's 'Golden Girl' Receives Warm Welcome at Dublin Airport.
by Michael O'Neill
November 26,  2014
Courtesy photos: IABA


(NOV 26)  The crowds, from near and far, and the usual 'media representatives', including national TV, gathered at Dublin Airport this evening to honour one of the country's all time greats in the world of sport, as Katie Taylor arrived at Terminal One proudly displaying yet another Gold medal won far from her native Bray.

The Wicklow woman seems to make a habit of collecting Gold since that first European title in 2005 and she and the rest of the Irish squad of Michaela Walsh, Joanne Lambe and Clare Grace plus coaches, received the red carpet treatment after the long trip home from the AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships in Jeju, South Korea.

This was a familiar trip for Katie Taylor whose Gold collection now includes 17 major International medals (all Gold) : One Olympic, Five Worlds, Six Europeans and Five European Union titles - all in a row.

The journey home began as early as 04.00 local on Tuesday morning , so a long and tiring trip to London before the short hop from Heathrow to Dublin. If the boxers were tired and anxious to get home to their family and friends they still spent time chatting to their fans, lots of whom are avid fans of the World champion and her colleagues and many more are already members of local boxing clubs in their own home towns.

Taylor's team mates also enjoyed a great reception but were glad to get back on home soil. Michaela Walsh later told her Social Media fan club : "6 airplanes and 1 month later and I'm finally back home to Belfast... no place like home ahhhh...

— feeling happy".

Taylor had matched Indian legend Mary Kom in Jeju when claiming her fifth consecutive lightweight title.

Speaking at Dublin Airport, the irish champion said she was overwhelmed with the reception from her devoted fans.

“It’s an absolute privilege to come home as a World champion to see the people here today. These people have been there supporting me from the very start when I first won my first World title''.

Taylor admitted that Kom’s record was on her mind in Jeju.

“I was thinking about it all week, I was hoping that I was going to equal that record.

“But it’s been such a tough year with the European and World Championships, two major competitions. It’s just a relief.”

Katie Taylor is greeted by fans at Dublin Airport (courtesy: IABA)

Taylor added that her first stop tonight would be her grandmother’s house.

“The first place I always go too is my granny to show her the medal.”

Taylor’s grandmother – for the record – has now seen one Olympic, five World, six European and five European Union – all gold – medals and enough multi-nation golds to fill a garden shed!

Tommy Murphy, President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, described Taylor as 'a source of consistent pride'.

“The Irish squad did their country proud at the World Women’s Championships. To win one World title is extremely difficult, but to win five is phenomenal. She is a consistent source of pride for the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.”

The IABA President, CEO Fergal Carruth, and head coach Billy Walsh were among those who attended today’s homecoming along with IABA officials.

Irish Sports Council Chief John Tracey also attended today’s homecoming. The Irish squad and staff have been in training camp and competition in Jeju since the beginning of this month.

Ireland's Joanne Lambe with club coach and Irish Pro.boxer, Christina McMahon TV, Radio and Media take their turn

So what next for Ireland's 'Golden Girl'? Speaking to Johnny Watterson of 'The Irish Times' she made it clear she has no intention of resting on her laurels.

Another tilt at a sixth title perhaps?

“It’s very, very doable,” she said. “I was thinking about it all week and I was hoping to equal the record. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet.”

“I like to be a role model for those girls growing up because there are an awful lot of bad role models out there. I want to show them that there is a great way to live your life and you can achieve your dreams.”

And then after a round of interviews, signing numerous autographs and having photos taken with their admirers, the Irish quartet set out for home, and a well deserved break after a month in Korea.

For Katie Taylor though that first stop would be her Gran's home just down the road from hers in Bray. Another 'homecoming' - another day - another year.

‘I want to make history; I want to be the greatest of all time,’ said the five-time world champion.

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