Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Belfast boxers pay tribute to fans

Paddy Barnes poses with his bronze medal
Paddy Barnes poses with his bronze medal
Michael Conlan with his bronze medal at the medal ceremony for the Olympic Games at the ExCeL, London
Fireworks during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING BYLINEA general view as the fireworks signal the end of the London 2012 Olympics at packed Olympic Stadium in Stratford east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks light up the sky over the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame is extinguished during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Stadium in London for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lowered The London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday 12 August 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry by her side the end of the London 2012 Olympics at packed Olympic Stadium in Stratford east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks over the Olympic Stadium and Orbit during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Park PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING BYLINEA general view as the fireworks during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics at packed Olympic Stadium in Stratford east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A general view as the fireworks during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics at packed Olympic Stadium in Stratford east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame is lowered during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame is lowered during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame is lowered during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks light up the sky over the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dancers from Brazil perform during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dancers from Brazil perform during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dancers from Brazil perform during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dancing street sweeper Renato Sorriso of Brazil performs during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Dancers from Brazil perform during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
London Mayor Boris Johnson (left) hands the Olympic Flag to IOC President Jacques Rogge during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London
Entertainment during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
To mark the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games, EDF Energy have lit up the EDF Energy London Eye, County Hall and Shell Building on London's Southbank. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. There will continue to be a nightly lightshow on the EDF Energy London Eye throughout the Paralympics (29 August Ð 9 September 2012); powered by London 2012 tweets, the lightshow on the landmark reflects how positive the nation is feeling about the Paralympic Games www.edfenergyofthenation.com Photo credit should read: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
The closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A general view the Spice Girls performing at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics at packed Olympic Stadium in Stratford east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Musician Annie Lennox performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: A general view of the Olympic Cauldron during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: George Michael performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Band One Direction perform during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: A general view of the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Suggs and Madness perform during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Dancers perform during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: The flags of the competing nations are paraded through the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Lee Thompson of Madness performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: A general view of the Victoria park and the BT observation wheel close to the Olympic park during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games on August 12, 2012 in London, England. Athletes, heads of state and dignitaries from around the world have gathered in the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony of the 30th Olympiad. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Athletes gather in the centre of the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: The Olympic Cauldron burns in front of the Olympic rings during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Actor Timothy Spall plays the part of Winston Churchill during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Model Lily Cole poses during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Geri Halliwell of Spice Girls performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Musician Jessie J performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Taio Cruz performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Russell Brand performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Jessie J performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Musician Annie Lennox performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: A general view of the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: The France team parade through the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: British supermodel Lily Donaldson during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: The France team parade throught he stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Model Kate Moss performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Spice Girls perform during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Pet Shop Boys perform during The London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday 12 August 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Mods during the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Norman Cook a.k.a. Fatboy Slim performs during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
George Michael performs during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Eric Idle performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Melanie Chisholm of The Spice Girls performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Emma Bunton of The Spice Girls performs during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Melanie Brown of The Spice Girls during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Flag bearers during the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Victoria Beckham of The Spice Girls performs during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Russell Brand performs during the London Olympic Games 2012 Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. RESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story Olympics . Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Liam Gallagher performs during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Liam Gallagher performs during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A human cannonball performs during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
**EDITORS PLEASE NOTE A TILT SHIFT LENS HAS BEEN USED** The Olympic Stadium in London for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Madness perform at The Olympic Stadium in London for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Pet Shop Boys perform The Olympic Stadium in London for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Geri Halliwell (right) and Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls performs during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games, London PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 12, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Medal-winning boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan have returned to Belfast to a rapturous reception from supporters and family and thanked the fans for urging them on to glory.

Hundreds packed the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction to welcome the bronze medallists home - including six former Olympians from Northern Ireland.

Barnes became the first boxer from the country to win medals at successive Olympics and paid tribute to the fans for their support. "The atmosphere during the fight was unreal," he said.

Conlan added: "The support back home was amazing, every fight it was brilliant - you could not hear yourself in the ring."

Barnes, 25, who also won bronze in Beijing, became the first boxer from the island of Ireland to win medals at consecutive Games. He said: "It has been amazing, it has done so much for Irish boxing. We can both go to Rio and get the gold."

Conlan, 20, who is a member of west Belfast's St John Bosco club, won his first medal on his Olympic debut.

Barnes and Conlan waded through a crowd straining to get a glimpse of the stars, signing posters and cards, maintaining a sense of humour while looking tired after days of effort.

Barnes's father, Paddy, said: "They are just shattered." Conlan's grandfather, Joe Strong, was also there to hug his grandson.

Six former Olympians were among hundreds who turned out to greet them. They included John McNally, who took silver in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki; Freddie Gilroy, who won bronze in 1956, making world headlines at the height of the Cold War by knocking out a Russian; Jim McCourt, who took bronze in Tokyo in 1964; and Hugh Russell who won bronze in 1980 in Moscow. Olympians Jim Montague, who competed in 1972, and David Larmour, who took part in 1976, were also present.

Barnes and Conlan will ride through the centre of the city in an open-top bus on Tuesday.

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