Laois is hoping that it will be third time lucky in Tralee, as Laois Rose Sinead Fennell heads for the Dome.
The Graiguecullen girl is currently making her way around the country with the Rose Tour, but their final destination is annual contest in the Kingdom. Although she’s from a border town Sinead has no doubt about where her loyalty lies and will be flying the blue and white with pride in Kerry next week.
Tragedy struck for the Laois Rose just days before the Regional Finals, when her beloved grandmother passed away suddenly. But in her honour of her Mountrath granny, Sinead held her head high and made sure she made her granny proud.
“It was difficult, there’s no point saying otherwise but everyone was so nice to me. And although it was heartbreaking, it was a welcome distraction to, I think she pulled a few strings up above to get me through to Tralee,” she says.
It will be a case of the last one to leave turns out the lights in the tight knit border community this weekend as they all head for the Dome.
“It will be like a mini-break for the whole of Graigue. There is about 50-60 people coming with us, all the family from both sides. I was at the Novena for St Clare’s recently and everyone was coming up to me telling me they were getting a bus down, it’s great excitement for the parish,” she said.
The GAA club held a special night in their clubhouse, where they presented Sinead with a jersey with Fennell and number one on the back and the parish priest Fr John Dunphy had a special mass last Saturday night before Sinead made her way to Dublin to meet with the rest of the Roses.
Sinead is following in the footsteps of Ann-Marie Hogan and last year’s Rose Bernadette Ryan who both did the county proud in Tralee.
The Graigue girl has kept her preperations for the trip as local as possible. Portlaoise fashion designer, Heidi Higgins designed her dress for the stage and her ball gown for the Rose ball came from Farrell’s on Main Street, Portlaoise.
“Heidi Higgins designed the dress but only Heidi and my mum have seen it. It’s blue for Laois, simple, sleek, modern and age appropriate. I can’t wait to wear it,” was all the information Sinead would divulge.
“I have a good few of her dresses for daywear and cocktail dresses. My hats are all from Eleanor Ryan, the gown for the Rose Ball is from Betty Farrell’s, and some of my day dresses are from Erresse. I tried to keep it as much as I could in Portlaoise.
“But I have everything sorted now, largely thanks to my mum - she’s the one that reminds me about the plasters and lip balm. Sharon Preson, the Laois Rose co-ordinator has been a great help to. She’s so honest, she will tell you straight if a dress or outfit suits you or doesn’t suit you and that’s what you need,” she said.
As of yet, Sinead is not sure what night she will be on TV, but one things for sure the whole of Laois will be tuned in next Monday and Tuesday night to hopefully see her crowned Rose of Tralee 2011.