Westmeath County Council has confirmed it is to host a triumphal homecoming for both Mullingar Olympians - John Joe Nevin and Joseph Murphy - on Monday evening (August 13 ).
The open top bus with the two athletes aboard will be met by the town band at the end of Patrick Street at 6.30pm on Monday, after which they will parade through Dominick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Pearse Street, and Castle Street, before arriving at Cusack Park at approximately 7.30pm.
A homecoming address, and entertainment for the two athletes and their supporterswill be given by the county council here at 7.45pm.
The gates of Cusack Park will be open from 6.30pm, and parking in town will be free from 4pm to help facilitate the anticipated crowd, a council official confirmed.
For the first time in 21 Olympics and six Mullingar participants, an Olympic medal will be brought home to Mullingar around the neck of John Joe Nevin.
At the time of going to press this is a bronze medal, but its colour has two chances to change, with a semi-final this afternoon, Friday August 10, at 2pm, and the final scheduled for tomorrow night, Saturday August 11, at 8.45pm.
“Ah, he did brilliant. It’s a fantastic achievement, and it’s great that he’s getting recognised. Hopefully, now, he’ll get more than a bronze, but it’s going to be a tough fight,” said Mullingar’s second ever Olympian, Cormac Finnerty, who was just three places off the 5,000m final at Atlanta in 1996.
“And don’t forget Joe Murphy. He had a great Olympics. He did us fantastic in the three-day event. Two clears was very impressive,” pointed out Cormac.
Accompanying John Joe on Monday will be our other Olympian from these Games, Joseph Murphy, who helped the Irish three-day eventing team to an enormously creditable fifth place aboard his 11-year-old mount Electric Cruise.
Joseph also finished 14th in the individual competition out of 72 participants, just two behind the former double Olympic champion, Mark Todd of New Zealand, and 15 places ahead of William Fox-Pitt of the UK, who has won two silver and one bronze at four Olympics.
Mullingar’s oprevious Olympians were Michael ‘Maxie’ McCullagh (1922-2001 ), lightweight (London 1948 ); John Joe Joyce (b 1987 ) light welter; and Martin Fagan (b 1983 ) marathon (Beijing 2008 ).