Welcome home - Jim, the lads and....Sam!

A massive crowd of more than 22,000 loyal fans braved atrocious weather last night to welcome the Donegal team, 2012 All-Ireland Champions, back home to Donegal.

A massive crowd of more than 22,000 loyal fans braved atrocious weather last night to welcome the Donegal team, 2012 All-Ireland Champions, back home to Donegal.

One of the undoubted highlights was this moment, when Jim McGuinness broke into song - the purest indication of the level of joy felt by the team, the local GAA organisation and the whole of Donegal.

Donegal town saw an unprecedented influx of supporters, starting from the early evening, and, true to form, they would not be deterred by rain, wind or delays.

Although the entourage was originally planned to arrive between 8pm and 8.30pm, the bus only finally inched its way to The Diamond at 10.30pm.

This did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd and the occasion lived up to, or even surpassed, all expectation. Meanwhile, innumerable fans who could not be there, were there in spirit, as they watched the events unfold online.

See the Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press special souvenir publication on Wednesday - 48 pages of photos capturing every moment of the triumphant return home to Donegal, not just in Donegal town, but all over south and west Donegal, as well as Letterkenny.