Our 2019 Laois Rose who takes to the televised stage in Tralee with Daithí next week is all set to give it her best shot.
Sarah Bergin, 22 from Clonad is a busy student nurse and a golfer, playing since she was eight.
Her demonstration of her swing with an imaginary club won over the judges last April when she was picked as Laois Rose in Castle Durrow.
Sarah hopes that RTE will let her give Daithí a golf lesson on live television.
“I met Daithi for interviews in Dublin, he was lovely, very funny,” she said.
She has some nerves.
“I'd be the one to fall flat on my face. I don't plan on getting myself worked up, I want to enjoy every bit of it, it's a once in a lifetime experience,” she said.
Her interview dress is Laois blue, a “big princess dress, I'm grabbing that opportunity,” Sarah laughs.
The past four months have flown, between doing four 13 hour shifts a week as a student nurse in Galway University Hospital, and attending Rose Selection nights around Ireland.
“It was lovely to meet all the girls, the WhatsApp is going all the time, I've made great friends,” she said.
Recently she donated blood for the first time, with Irish Blood thanking her and other Roses, but poor Sarah didn't fare too well after.
“I fainted, I wasn't well for three hours,” she revealed.
Sarah finds a small bit of time for golf in The Heath club where all her family play. The club held an open day to fund her Tralee trip.
“They have been phenomenal, the crowds were unbelievable on the day. They will all be gathering in the clubhouse to cheer me on the television,” she said.
Sarah went to secondary school in Heywood and primary in Raheen NS, and finishes her four years of nursing training a week after the Rose Festival.
She moved home to Clonad last week because she has not had a job offer.
She puts this down to tighter HSE budgets but hopes a job will materialise.
“I always wanted to work in Ireland for a few years and get experience,” she said.
Her biggest interest is in end of life care.
“I would love to become a nurse specialist in palliative care. I've had a few experiences now of being there at the end of life .
It's upsetting but it's rewarding, to give someone the end that you would want for your own loved ones. Their families are so thankful,” she said.
In the meantime Sarah will work at RSM Ireland in Portlaoise in administration and basic accountancy, having worked there before. Her mother Helen is an accountant there. Her father John works for Caroline Bergin Property Managment, Sarah's sponsor.
John was on the course during Sarah's photoshoot.
“I reckon she has the winning formula. she has the personality to carry anything in life, and the drive, we are very proud of her,” he said.
He has made a big banner for Tralee with “the most embarrassing photos he could find” reports Sarah.
“I'm more worried about that being on tv,” she joked.
She hopes that her little brother Jack, 15 can make it to Tralee after a knee injury.
“He will be on crutches in the audience,” she said.
Her older brother Kevin is in the midst of exams and may have to watch from afar.
Sarah thanks last year's Laois Rose Grainne Hogan, Laois judge Sharon Preston, and her friend Rachel Gibbons the 2018 Mayo Rose, for all their good advice.
“They all told me not to get too stressed, to have fun, that it will all be gone in the blink of an eye,” she said.
“I've been waiting five months for this to happen. I'm ready to get out there and do my county proud. The support is amazing,
I find it so strange when people recognise me as the Laois Rose,” she said.
The new format this year for the Rose of Tralee means that the number of Roses is halved to 32, but all of them get a televised interview.
The other 32 centres will send their Roses next year so the next Laois Rose will not be chosen until 2021.
Sarah joined all the other Roses in Kildare on Monday, August 19 to start a tour.
Interviews for the 60th annual Rose of Tralee are live on RTE on Monday and Tuesday, August 26 and 27.
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