'I gave it my all, I'm sorry I didn't get us there' - heartbreak for Nicky Byrne as Ireland crashes out of Eurovision
IRELAND has crashed out of the Eurovision for the third year in a row at the Semi final stage.
Despite Nicky Byrne turning in a strong performance of his song 'Sunlight', it wasn't enough to win over the voters around Europe.
Nicky Byrne tweeted his disappointment this evening. "Amazing Time. Amazing Support. I gave it my all, I'm sorry I didn't get us there.
I pass on the torch to someone else now next year."
Speaking about his elimination, he said: "Obviously I'm disappointed - I really would have loved to represent Ireland at the final on Saturday, but sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to. I went out there and gave it my absolute best shot.
"I've had such an amazing time in Stockholm and I'm so glad I had the honour of representing Ireland at Eurovision. I've had some brilliant experiences and met fantastic people so I'll take those special memories with me. I have no regrets - life is short and it was an incredible opportunity to represent my country in front of a global audience. I would recommend it to any music act to take on the challenge next year - there is no bigger platform."
Byrne's effort was up against hot favourites Ukraine and Australia who delivered strong performances in front of the expected TV audience of 100m.
Russia is favourite to take the crown on Saturday, Sergey Lazerev's song 'You are the only one' is expected to land the country their second Eurovision crown.
However Sweden are also in the running for victory - should they prove victorious on home soil on Saturday they would tie Ireland's historic winning record at seven victories each.
Last night's elimination means the last three years have been Ireland's poorest performing since joining the competition in 1965.
Kasey Smith failed to qualify for the final in Copenhagen in 2014, while last year in Vienna Molly Sterling also failed to make the cut.
Pressure is now mounting on RTE bosses to explain why Byrne and his song were selected without any public vote.
On the two previous occasions in 2006 and 2007 when internal selection was used by RTE, the public still voted on the final song choice.
Comments flooded in on social media in the aftermath of the result, with many accusing RTE of being stuck in the 1990s with their approach to the competition.
The song's failue will no doubt come as a disappointment to Nicky's wife Georgina and father-in-law Bertie Ahern who flew out to Stockholm for the event.