The Longford Rose selection may be over, but the excitement is only beginning for newly-crowned Longford Rose Laura Ward.
20-year-old Laura is from Edgeworthstown and was sponsored by Ancient Wisdom Clinics. She will succeed Caroline Doyle and represent Longford in the Rose of Tralee International Festival, which takes place later this year.
Laura is thrilled to have been chosen from a line-up of ten worthy ladies at Saturday night’s selection.
“I felt shocked. It took so long to sink in. I had no idea. There was no indication that it would be me. All of the girls were amazing. So I was shocked when I got it,” a thrilled Laura told the Longford Leader on Monday.
“The night itself was great. The whole day was great,” she added.
Laura was inspired to go for the Longford Rose title by her predecessor, Caroline Doyle, who encouraged her to apply.
“Caroline messaged me on Facebook and said I should go for it. I said maybe in a few years, but I ended up putting in an application this year,” said Laura who is friends with Caroline.
“I’m really excited about the year ahead. I don’t know what to expect, but everyone keeps saying it’ll be the best year of my life so I can’t wait.”
Of course, Laura is very excited about the opportunity to join Daithí Ó’Sé on stage at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August.
“The main festival will be amazing. My family is already looking for accommodation. They were so good to me and made posters and signs and kept making me laugh on the night. They were so supportive,” said Laura.
And, she said, she was overwhelmed by the support from the whole county: “I really want to thank everyone for their support. I got so many likes on Facebook and so many people have messaged me.
“Even before the selection night when I applied, people were so supportive all over the county,” she said.
MC for the evening was Benny O’Brien and the Roses had makeup sponsored and provided by Sharon Noonan from Saffron Rough in Ballymahon.
The nine other Longford Rose finalists were Amy-Leigh Webb, Charlotte McCormick, Rachel Masterson, Claire Campbell, Fiona McGrath, Jordi O’Rourke, Niamh Kiernan, Symone Donnelly and Amy Oates.