County Roscommon was well represented at the Rose of Tralee Festival by two participants over the two-day event.
Two neighbouring girls, both from Ballymurray, Knockcroghery, took part in the Rose competition with Áine Shine representing Liverpool and Roisín Hunt representing San Francisco.
Donal Gill, although from Galway, had been selected as the Roscommon escort for the event and indeed he had great cause to celebrate on Tuesday night as he was escorting the winning London Rose, Clare Kambamettu.
Aine Shine, first of ‘the Rossies’ to take the stage, works as a Pharmacist at Davey’s Chemist in Liverpool, having graduated with a Masters Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Sunderland. The 24-year-old is a member of St Dominic’s GAA club in Roscommon and played camógie at school, club and county level, as well as captaining the University of Sunderland Gaelic football team.
She chatted happily with presenter Daithí Ó Sé who quizzed her about different elements of her life including working in the pharmacy, her ties with the GAA and, of course, her boyfriend Kevin. Áine also treated the Dome audience to a poem that she had written for the occasion, to reflect, as she put it, the ‘Irish diaspora around the globe’.
Roisín Hunt, also of Ballymurray, took to the stage later on Monday night and also gave an excellent account of herself. Roisín works as a reporter and researcher for a public radio station in San Francisco, after graduating from NUI Maynooth with a degree in Media Studies and French and after working for a year in a television production company in Ireland.
Roisin spoke to Daithí at length about her radio media career in San Francisco, about the fact she had interviewed a Holocaust survivor and on a much lighter note, about her sleep talking problems! She concluded by treating the crowd to a rendition of a poem entitled ‘I married a man from Roscommon’, which seemed to go down very well in the Dome.
Both girls acquitted themselves very impressively on the night and did their family, friends and their county proud.
Another Roscommon native, Anthony O’Gara from Scramogue, who is the managing director of the festival, spoke before the result were announced on Tuesday night. He paid tribute to the girls themselves, to presenter Daithí Ó Sé, to all the sponsors and to everybody who had helped out in anyway in the successful running of the festival, which he described as being ‘the best festival we’ve had in years’.
MC Ó Sé then announced the winner of the festival, London Rose Clare Kambamettu, who works as an assistant psychologist for an NHS substance misuse service in London having completed a degree in Psychology and History along with an MSc in Mental Health. And there was some cause for celebration as Donal Gill, the Roscommon escort for the festival, escorted the winner for the event.