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Consolation for Dervla as her escort takes top prize

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Consolation for Dervla as her escort takes top prize


Ciara Galvin
ciaragalvin@mayonews.ie

LAST Tuesday night saw Luxembourg Rose and Cork native, Nicole McEvoy take the coveted title of this year’s Rose of Tralee. An estimated 892,000 people tuned in to see the 26-year-old teacher crowned as this year’s winner.
Although it wasn’t to be on the night, for Mayo Rose, Dervla Kenny, and Ballina native and Perth Rose, Lorna Gallagher, there was some consolation in the fact that Dervla’s escort for the week was a big winner. Galway man Ian Cullinane won the Newbridge Silverware Escort of the Year.
Ian, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway scooped the prize worth €10,000 which includes a cheque for €5,000, a complete set of silver-plated cutlery personalised with his family crest and the Gents Style Collection of watches and cufflinks.
The 32 Roses and 32 Escorts all voted for the escort who they regarded to be the ‘top man’ at the Festival.
Tearing both away from their breakfast with the rest of the Roses and Escorts on Thursday morning, The Mayo News spoke to Dervla and Ian about what the last week has been like.
“It’s been an absolutely fantastic week. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who is given an opportunity to go for it,” said Dervla.
Admittedly having only slept a handful of hours all week, Dervla maintained that her 5.30am bedtime and 10am rise the morning she spoke to us, was her ‘longest sleep in a week.”
Talking about the entire experience the Mayo Rose said she was ‘not a bit nervous’ on the opening night and explained that she was more nervous at regional finals in Portlaoise last June.
“It’s a different atmosphere down in Tralee, it was more about friendship than anything else. The prize was being able to experience it and the bonus is in the winning. We’re all delighted for Nicola.”
Speaking about her winning escort, Dervla describes him as ‘outstanding’ and admitting how he would go to the shop or pharmacy if she needed anything.
“He even had a kit put together of hair grips, party feet and baby wipes and sent me 12 red roses on the morning of the opening night.”
When asked if he ‘pulled out all the stops’ to win Escort of the Year, the Ballinasloe man explained that he didn’t change his character at all.
“It was fantastic to win and I’m still really surprised. I didn’t change my character, I was just courteous to all the girls and got on with all the lads,” said the trainee accountant.
Having never been at the festival before Ian highlighted the ‘unbelievable people’ and the street parade as his highlights of the festival.
And what about our Rose? Dervla outlined her ‘homecoming to Mayo and Westport’ as being her highlight of the Rose’s Tour.
“Going back to a home crowd was emotional. The support from Mayo people with text messages, cards and phone calls was amazing.”
Like her counterpart. Dervla singled out the street parade as a favourite from the week.
“In some parts of the street the crowd was ten-deep and people were so excited. It’s the closest to famous most of us will ever know.”
Still being stopped for photographs on the streets of Tralee late last week, it is back to reality for the Ballyvary native this week.
“It’s back to work on Monday so I better rest up before then,” concluded Dervla.
With memories like these and talks already of a reunion with the Roses and Escorts for The Gathering next year, the Occupational Therapist will have much to look forward to for 2013 and beyond.

HAVE YOUR SAY email ciaragalvin@mayonews.ie with your comments