An 80-year-old man who spent five months in hospital battling Covid-19 has received a hero's welcome home in Co Offaly.

Joe Kelly, from Killeigh, spent 51 days in intensive care and his family was told he had a 50-50 chance of survival.

127 days after he was admitted to hospital, he finally returned home as family, neighbours and friends lined the road to welcome him back.

Among those gathered were his four children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

"A long road but we got there. He beat it. We didn't think he would but he did. He’s such a strong man. He’s our hero," said his daughter Jackie Kinahan.

There were emotional scenes as Joe greeted his family for the first time in months.

"We thought we’d be having a different day but the way it turned out, it’s great. He went through a lot. It just goes to show what he’s made of. He’s a great bit of stuff," said his son Joe.

For the last five months, Joe Snr battled Covid-19 at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore.

With a number of underlying conditions, his daughter Amanda Rhattigan said he was ventilated twice.

"He was one of the sickest in the hospital," she said.

Speaking at home, Joe thanked the medical staff at the hospital in Tullamore and at Birr Community Nursing Unit.

"I can't forget the staff. Never met as nice a people," he said.

"It’s great to be home. I didn’t think I’d get here. I missed my family, my friends and my neighbours," he added.

Now that he is home, Joe said he is looking forward to one thing - "a good mug of tea."