‘Rose’ with Longford links plays down chances at Festival

Rose of Tralee hopeful Annemarie Lynch was trying her level best to stay calm and assured this week ahead of her much anticipated appearance on RTE television last night (Tuesday).

Rose of Tralee hopeful Annemarie Lynch was trying her level best to stay calm and assured this week ahead of her much anticipated appearance on RTE television last night (Tuesday).

The Gowna native and New York Rose said the events of the past week had left her with little or no time to think, an experience which she believes could help subdue any last minute nerves.

“The past few days have been fantastic, they really have,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s only a bit of fun.”

Speaking to the Leader from Tralee and on board a minibus as she travelled with her escort, AIT student Niall O’Brien, during one of her final engagements on Monday morning, Annemarie said there were few, if any, negatives to draw from the past five days.

“We have been all over the country and people have been so friendly and welcoming. There is so much going on that you don’t really have time to get nervous,” she said.

Annemarie, who was the sixth Rose due on stage last night, was also given cause to smile after judges sanctioned her request to replicate US singer Bruce Springsteen’s hit song ‘Dancing in the Dark’.

That said, the likeable former Cnoc Mhuire student, was keen to play down her chances of emerging victorious this week.

“What happens, happens,” she simply replied. “I have met so many good friends that I can say each and every one of the girls deserve it.”

The softly spoken 22-year-old also reserved a word of praise for all those who have sent messages of support and travelled to Tralee, including her parents Eamon and Aileen, both of whom jetted in from New York last week.

“It’s just been amazing. I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity,” she positively put it.

As for her future plans, Annemarie was keen to focus on her most immediate task-a visit to the circus.

“I might even stay there,” she laughed.

Whether she gets that opportunity or not will depend on how judges place her performance among this year’s 32 strong list of Rose finalists.

Meanwhile, there was also more than just a passing interest locally in the appearance on stage of another Rose, Westmeath’s Aisling Baker. The 21-year-old Lissoy finalist attended the Tralee Festival with a hand crafted dress from Ballymahon designer Patrick Casey. Unlike her New York counterpart, however, Aisling was unavailable for comment earlier this week in the lead up to her appearance on Monday evening.