The Waterford Rose of Tralee contest, which took place at The Woodlands Hotel on Saturday night last, proved to be the most successful of recent years with sixteen young women competing for the chance to represent Waterford in Tralee.
The Woodlands Hotel mounted a fine event that catered for over 180 diners representing family, friends and supporters of the various contestants.
All the entrants were of a very high standard and the winner was announced as Laura Ann Nolan. Laura Ann, who hopes to work in special needs education, is daughter of John and Laura Nolan, Avoca Drive, Avondale. She received €1,000 sponsored by the Woodlands Hotel and a beautiful piece of John Rocha designed Waterford Crystal donated by the Kilbarry company.
Laura Ann’s father is a member of staff at Waterford City Council and her mother is a teacher at St. declan’s Community College, Kilmacthomas. Laura is a member of the Waterford Peace Choir and is involved in charity work, a commitment that has already seen her visit Sri Lanka.
Laura Ann takes over from the current Rose, Liz Daniels, who was present on the night. Liz won through after appearing in the regional final in Limerick last year. Only the Rose winners from Cork, Dublin and Kerry enjoy a direct route to the Tralee final so Laura Ann must now proceed to the regional final in Portlaoise order to progress further.
Steve Cronly of the Dublin based Rose of Tralee committee was most impressed with the quality of the Waterford contestants and with RTE’s Brendan McArdle doing the interviewing, the event went off really well. Ray D’Arcy of Today FM will introduce the televised final programme from Tralee.
Brendan made the girls relax and feel at home as each approached the stage with their escorts who, at times, also got a mention! Most of the girls were in their early 20s with the age range from 18-25 years. Many were students or graduates while others worked as nurses, teachers and beauty therapists. They spoke about their interests in a lively manner and, at the end of each interview, performed a song, dance or poem. There were even some highlights from shows like ‘Guys and Dolls’.
Some were also major sports enthusiasts from camogie or athletics to cycling. Indeed Stacy Kelly, daughter of famous cyclist Sean Kelly, was among the competitors. The Waterford hurling squad came in for special mention from many of the girls who expressed their ongoing keen support for the team.
All expressed their wish to represent Waterford well and spoke of the great attractions of the city and county and why it is such a nice place to live. This was communicated in a very articulate manner giving Brendan McArdle ample opportunity to compliment our area.
The judging panel comprised Liz McGough, advertising manager with the Munster Express, John Walsh of Waterford Pilot Training Company and Ann Marie Quaid, Radiologist at WRH and the members were complimented for the excellent manner in which they carried out their unenviable task.
The manager of the Woodlands Hotel, Billy Brenner, was complimented for his work on the night and for the splendid meal prepared and served by his staff. The Munster Express, as media sponsor, was praised for generating so much publicity for the event and the success of the newspaper in attracting so many top quality entries.
Peter Cooney was also complimented for his efforts in attracting support and sponsorship. The Pilot Training College in Waterford Airport was also acclaimed as a good supporters of the event, through John Walsh. Also present on the night was Orla Burke, formerly of Ferrybank, a former Rose of Tralee whose niece, Leanne Burke-Roche, was a contestant.