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TV Strong Mayo connections in All-Ireland Talent Show final

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All-Ireland Talent Show finalists Cosa Beoga from Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway, have lots of friends and family in Co Mayo.
ONE SMALL STEP All-Ireland Talent Show finalists Cosa Beoga from Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway, have lots of friends and family in Co Mayo.

Flying the flag for the west

Politically Correct from Ballina may have been knocked out in the semi-finals, but the west – and Co Mayo in particular – is still well represented in the upcoming All-Ireland Talent Show final. Two great acts with strong Mayo connections are hoping take the first prize this Sunday, March 20.  
Singer Don Stiffe’s outstanding rendition of the Christy Hennessy ballad, ‘Roll Back the Clouds’  in the semi-finals secured him a place in the final. Commenting on his performance, Don, who lives in Headford on the Galway/Mayo border, said: “I am delighted to have reached the final, I felt confident during my performance, the feedback from the judges was very positive and the audience was very supportive. I am very grateful for the huge support so far and ask everyone to lift the phone or text their vote for me this Sunday to help me achieve my dream of winning  and doing the West proud.”
Don is a rising singer/songwriter on the Irish folk scene whose musical talents have been favorably compared to the likes of Sean Keane, Sean Tyrell, Dolores Keane and Dessy O’Halloran. The singer released his debut album “Start of a Dream” to critical acclaim in 2006 and it featured the masterful musicianship of Frankie Gavin, Carl Hession, Sharon Shannon, Cathal Hayden and Arty McGlynn.
Originally from Bohermore, Don has been living in Headford for the last 15 years and is married to Elaine. In between performing Don is a stay-at-home dad to their three children, Róisín, Eon and Iarla – it was these young fans who encouraged Don to audition for the programme.
Meanwhile, dancing their young hearts out for the West – and capturing the hearts of the nation – are pint-sized traditional dancers Cosa Beoga from Abbeyknockmoy in Co Galway. The ten members of the group all have Mayo connections.
Speaking about their appearance and experience on the live show, Cosa Beoga dancer Joseph Boyle stated the entire group were delighted to have reached this stage of the competition. “We are all very excited about the final show and our new routine will be worth waiting for on Sunday evening. We have all our cousins and relations in Mayo contacted and canvassed and we hope that everyone in the county continues to support us now,” he said.
Cosa Beoga combines talent and tradition to perform an exciting range of traditional-Irish dance forms, including sean nós, brush dancing and set dancing. The dancers range in age from eight to thirteen and are very excited and proud to be representing their parish, community, their county and their region in The All Ireland Talent Show. The Cosa Beoga members are Joseph and Keith Boyle, Colin Kelly, Adam and Lauren Hession, Meabh Boyle, Elisha Connelly, Shauna Boyle, Robert Carr and Lorna Devane.
In all, 40 acts from all over the country have been whittled down to the six that will compete in the final for the coveted title of All Ireland Talent Champion 2011 and the life-changing prize of €50,000. Regardless of who wins, to get to the last show is an achievement in and of itself – and it certainly won’t be the last we’ve seen of any of the finalists.

The All Ireland Talent Show airs on Sunday, March 20, at 6.30pm on RTÉ One.