“It’s completely surreal”: Hero’s welcome for silver medal-winning Irish eventers

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John Watson, individual silver medalist on Cambridge Blue at 1978 Eventing World Championships, welcomes home his son, Sam, team eventing silver medalist in 2018. 
John Watson, individual silver medalist on Cambridge Blue at 1978 Eventing World Championships, welcomes home his son, Sam, team eventing silver medalist in 2018. © Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

An early morning start didn’t deter Irish equestrian fans from greeting their heroic Irish eventers at Dublin airport on Wednesday morning.

The World Equestrian Games silver-medal winning team touched down just after 6.30am to a hero’s welcome from a huge group of fans, family members, friends and representatives from Horse Sport Ireland, on their triumphant return home.

Sally Corscadden’s squad of Sam Watson, Cathal Daniels, Sarah Ennis, Padraig McCarthy and Patricia Ryan (reserve and individual), claimed Ireland’s first ever team medal at a World Equestrian Games on Monday in North Carolina, USA, while Tipperary-born McCarthy also took home individual silver.

2018 FEI World Equestrian Games Eventing team and individual silver medalist Padraig McCarthy arrives back home to a hero's welcome at Dublin Airport. 
2018 FEI World Equestrian Games Eventing team and individual silver medalist Padraig McCarthy arrives back home to a hero’s welcome at Dublin Airport. © Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

“It’s completely surreal. I’ve dreamed about it, but to actually have two medals around your neck when you come back is something dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable,” Padraig McCarthy told RTÉ Sport

“I’m so grateful to Sally [Corscadden] for putting such a great team around us. We had physios for us and the horses, trainers, vets, the grooms, owners, sponsors … it’s been an unbelievable week. I hope we can put eventing on the map, get a little bit more funding and keep this team in place going towards Tokyo.”

The Irish Show Jumping team get their World Equestrian Games campaign under way today in North Carolina, hoping to emulate the eventing team and win a medal – which would also guarantee Olympic qualification for Toyko 2020.

Supporters, families and friends welcome the Irish eventing team home at Dublin Airport.
Supporters, families and friends welcome the Irish eventing team home at Dublin Airport. © Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
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