Irish-qualified football star wins Swedish idol
The days of toiling in Sweden's second division may be over for Sundsvall midfielder Kevin Walker after he won the country's "Idol" talent competition last night.
Walker, who sang with British artist Robbie Williams, picked up more votes to beat rival Elin Bergstrand at a packed Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
"It's unreal! Unreal! Unbelievable!" he told Reuters immediately after his victory.
While games had to be rescheduled due to Walker's participation in the show and some critics said he was receiving special treatment, fans continued to vote for him week after week to keep him in the competition.
The Idol victory will be some consolation for Walker after a disappointing end to the season with Sundsvall, who lost a playoff and missed out on promotion to Sweden's top flight.
Asked whether he would now be retiring from football to concentrate on his singing career, Walker said he had no plans for the future as yet.
"We'll see, we'll see. Tonight I'm just going to enjoy the party."
Walker, who plays for GIF Sundsvall, has alternated between training and rehearsals, criss-crossing the country as he chased promotion with his club while performing on the top-rated TV talent show.
His father Pat, himself a former soccer player, is from County Carlow in Ireland, and Kevin sang a rendition of a U2 song to help him to victory last night.