Scotland’s Michelle Kelly may have narrowly missed out on winning Ireland’s most famous beauty pageant but she was the undoubted star of the show in her home parish in Tyrone.
Along with her 31 co-contestants Killeeshil born Michelle Kelly had been on a whistlestop tour the length and breadth of the country before she took to the stage as the first entrant on the opening night.
Remarkably the qualified accountant, who now works in Edinburgh, appeared completely unfazed by the onerous task of opening the proceedings.
She joked that her roommate - Clare’s Joanne O Gorman - kept accidently taking her things.
“She stole your sash,” Dáithí told the sash-less entrant. “She’s a kleptomaniac.”
The host also criticised Michelle’s kilt-wearing escort for “walking around in the same dress all week”.
Michelle went on to deliver a rousing version of the song Caledonia, which prompted a standing ovation from her proud parents, Damian and Carmel.
Describing her experiences as ‘a massive five day family wedding’, Michelle said: “At first, I was petrified to go first as it is a tough task. If I had seen others go before me I would have thought if they could do it I can but the Rose of Tralee crew had everyone well prepared and Daithi O’Se was brilliant.”
Parents Damian and Carmel, who were ‘outed’ as avid Garth Brooks fans by their daughter on national TV, accompanied Michelle throughout the event and provided valuable support and encouragement.
In fact, Damian revealed that it took a last minute pep talk from him to help her conquer her nerves.
For the full story see next week’s Tyrone Times.