All the Laois Rose 2018 entrants before they took to the stage in the Midlands Park Hotel
Laois has a brand new Rose, in the form of 23 year old Grainne Hogan, a farmer who showed how to milk a wooden cow on stage at the Midlands Park Hotel.
It was the hottest ticket in town on the hottest day of the year, and Laois Rose 2018 proved a wonderful night, with Grainne just one of 17 talented, smart young women who bravely took to the stage on Sunday May 6.
As Mountmellick entrant, model Samantha Keenan put it, “every girl should have a chance to shine in her own spotlight”, and they truly did.
The hugely entertaining MC DJ Ollie Turner gamely agreed to a legwax onstage by beautician and mum Samantha Delaney, while Grainne hilariously taught him how to milk a cow.
Some chose to perform, to great reception. Jennifer Connaughton played a stunning Celtic Hymn on the tin whistle, Ciara Dunne sang Elton John's 'Your Song' in Irish with her guitar, and Naomi Griffith donned hard shoes for an Irish dance.
Among the ladies, beautician Bronwyn Dunne told how her family always loved to see her uncle play trombone in the Garda Band for the Rose of Tralee on TV.
Hairdresser Leanne Dowling's TV taste was more for Puppy Dog Pals, with three little daughters, two as Rosebuds on the night, “a package deal” she said.
Clara Bambrick was supported by her family including dad Brian who at 40 she said was still playing in the junior and first teams for Arles Killeen.
Sporty Aava Hearns is a student teacher in Mary I in Limerick, where the girls outnumber boys seven to one, "the lecturers adore them" she said.
Teacher Sharon Byrne told how she climbed 5,300 meters to Everest base camp, and was looking forward to seeing Ed Sheeran in the Phoenix Park once summer exams were done.
Liz O'Rourke with 26 tattoos explained how her work with Youthwork Ireland Laois, helps teens gain in confidence through arts.
Saoirse Territt was just back from working in Malaysia, as a break from her tough career as a social care worker. Also a social care worker, Aisling O'Sullivan has a passion for the environment and urged people to use less plastic because it is killing sea creatures.
Childcare student Niamh Clancy has performed Irish dancing in Disneyland Paris as well as hip-hop in shows, while model and make-up artist Joy Turley was stunning in her sister's bridesmaid dress.
Nicole Brady told how she loves acting with Clodiagh Players, and how she visited Auschwitz with boyfriend Devon, where she said "you can just sence the horrific events that went on. "A proper romantic getaway," the MC Ollie quipped.
After an interval song by 13 year old Abbie Fagan from Offaly, it was time to pick a winner, judged by Shauna Coyne, Patrick Browne and Sinead Cronly.
To a shower of ticker tape and of course the tune of 'The Rose of Tralee', the fair Grainne accepted her sash from outgoing Laois Rose Maeve Dunne.
“Thing will be different at the mart on Tuesday,” Ollie told her.
“I think I'm going to be really popular,” joked Grainne, thanking her mother Anne “for everything she's done for me”, and her sponsor Sheeran's Pub.
Best Banner was awarded to Grainne's own supporters, Camross Macra.
Barrowhouse GAA as Grainne's chosen club was awarded the raffle proceeds.
The 2017 Laois Rose Maeve Dunne looked beautiful in pink as she thanked her parents and all who supported her throughout her year, a “dream come true”.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr Padraig Fleming declared them “all winners”.
Laois Rose Co-Ordinator Lyn Moloney thanked them for taking part, as well as their sponsors, and the little Rosebuds, former Laois Roses and guest Roses who all helped to make it a night to remember.