Homecomings are a double-edged sword when it comes to sports teams and on this week's In From The Side podcast, Denis Hickie certainly seemed to have a degree of sympathy for the current Irish team, with regard to their arrival back in Dublin a few days ago.
If you're on the winning side then a homecoming is probably one of the highlights of your celebrations but across all sports, the aspect of having to face the public after a bad defeat is understandably a daunting one. Hickie reflected on his own experience in 2007 and what describes as one of the worst moments of his career:
Losing the game was bad but we came back to the old Terminal One in Dublin. There were some supporters there and everyone was trying to be positive about it. But everyone just wanted to get out of the airport, jump in their cars or get on the team bus and go home.
It was one the worst hour and a halves of my life. As we were getting our bags, seeing kids who were still really enthusiastic, full of support.
Although my experiences of homecomings equates to being given goujons and tiny bottles of Score orange in the club centre, I can imagine what it must have been like in 2007 and among the current squad. As Hickie points out 'They're still trying to rationalise what went wrong,' while putting a brave face on proceedings when greeted by fans.
You can listen to the full podcast below, including the lads' interview with Nacho Fernandez Lobbe.