Gowna girl looking forward to Rose of Tralee

New York Rose of Tralee Annemarie Lynch has said she feels no pressure going into next week’s eagerly awaited festival despite bookmakers placing her amongst the favourites.

New York Rose of Tralee Annemarie Lynch has said she feels no pressure going into next week’s eagerly awaited festival despite bookmakers placing her amongst the favourites.

Instead the amiable 22-year-old from Loch Gowna, issued a moving tribute to her parents Eamon and Aileen, family and friends ahead of the five day festival’s televised stages next Monday and Tuesday night.

“It’s great that people are getting behind the event,” she said when asked about her feelings at being installed as the competition’s 14/1 joint sixth placed favourite. “It’s just a bit of fun and at the end of the day it’s about celebrating all that is good about Ireland and bringing people back home.”

This week, Annemarie has been busy putting the finishing touches to her chances by joining 31 other Roses on a tour of Ireland.

It’s a burden however, which the former Cnoc Mhuire student appears to be relishing.

“I’m not really that nervous at the minute,” she told the Leader from Kildare on Monday evening. On the night, I probably will be but at the minute everything has just been so busy that I haven’t really had time to think.”

Much of that thought process has centred on the fact Annemarie has had to choose one dress out of a 20 strong entourage of outfits from New York designer Don O’Neill’s acclaimed Theia Collection.

And while she may have decided on her chosen garment, it remains unclear what ‘party piece’ she is likely to treat audiences to under the glare of the RTE cameras next week.

“I am hoping to sing and play Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, but I won’t know until Sunday,” she said, when it will also become clear as to what night Annemarie is expected on stage.

For the moment, all the quietly unasumming UCD graduate is concentrating on is doing her family and friends proud on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I just feel so incredibly blessed,” she beamed graciously. “All of the Roses, including myself have been treated so well and to be given this opportunity is the most amazing feeling.”

It’s a sentiment that might just be eclipsed at around 11pm next Tuesday evening (August 20) when the winner of the 53rd International Rose of Tralee is finally unveiled.