Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Commonweath Games heroes return: Gold from Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan among medal haul

Cheers and tears as battling boxers lead medal-laden team

Boxers Steven Donnelly, Michaela Walsh, Sean Duffy, Alanna Audley-Murphy, Michael Conlan and Sean McGlinchy hold up their medals
Boxers Steven Donnelly, Michaela Walsh, Sean Duffy, Alanna Audley-Murphy, Michael Conlan and Sean McGlinchy hold up their medals
Bronze medal winner Sean McGlinchy is hugged by mum Nuala as he arrives home
Gold winning Paddy Barnes is welcomed home by daughter Eireann and partner Mari

It was a heroes' welcome for Team Northern Ireland.

Family and friends gathered with pride to see the biggest team the country had sent to the Commonwealth Games return.

With smiles etched on their faces, it was the moment they had been waiting for as the local athletes stepped off the bus to the sound of cheers in the car park of the Queen's Sports Pavilion in Belfast.

It was well-deserved as from the moment the games kicked off in Glasgow there was blood, sweat and tears as our incredible athletes fought to the bitter end to win their medals.

Two golds, three silvers and seven bronzes left NI 15th in the medal table of 71 countries.

Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan brought home the gold in the boxing.

Michael said: "It's fantastic, coming back, as Commonwealth champion is something I've been dreaming of for the last six months.

"The support has been fantastic as always. Every competition I go to I always get fantastic support from the people back home."

He added: "I really, really appreciate it and hopefully they will be there all the way now."

Fellow gold medallist Paddy Barnes' dad said he never had any doubt about his son's ability.

Paddy snr said: "I'm extremely proud, I always have been; there was only one medal he was ever coming back with, which was the gold medal.

"That's what Patrick does and that's what he brings home."

Our female boxers made history as Michaela Walsh and Alanna Audley-Murphy became the first women to box in the Commonwealth Games.

Michaela came home with a silver medal as she lost out in the final to England's Nicola Adams and Alanna brought home the bronze.

"The support here is fantastic," said Michaela.

"'It's great to see my family and I'm looking forward to getting home and getting a nice rest.

"Even from my first fight it still hasn't sunk in, I'm very happy with my achievement."

Alanna said: "I'm glad to get home and see my family and friends."

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