Garda Aidan just wants to get back on the beat
'Dancing with the Stars' champion Aidan O'Mahony has brushed off criticism that he was not the rightful winner of the show.
The Kerry garda beat actresses Aoibhín Garrihy and Denise McCormack in Sunday night's grand finale. His win resulted in some backlash, with RTÉ getting 20 calls and emails "offering negative feedback" regarding O'Mahony's win and some viewers claimed McCormack and Garrihy were more skilled dancers.
"It's the same with sports, everyone is entitled to an opinion," he said. "After Dayl [Cronin] went, I felt like a panto villain - I wanted to prove myself.
"We came out fighting. We gave it our all."
Aidan's final dance was to Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out For A Hero' and saw him lift his dance partner Valeria Milova into the air.
He said appearing on the show has been a steep learning curve. "On day one I had no dance background, no media or TV training," he said.
"A lot of the others had done dance or worked on TV before, but it was all new to me."
The former GAA player and new dad will return to work today and is looking forward to getting back to normality after weeks of tangos and salsa dancing.
"The great thing now is I can go home and go back on the beat. I am a dad and a garda first off, and it will be great to return to normal life again," he said.
"It will be good to put the uniform on again."
After weeks parading around in fake tan, skin-tight trousers and see-through shirts, O'Mahony is expecting some slagging from his co-workers when he returns to work in Tralee garda station today.
"I'm expecting some, but I am delighted to have taken part in the series. Experiences like that don't come along too often so I'm glad I did it."
Asked whether he intends on keeping up dance classes, he said: "I don't know if I will keep dancing - it will be hard doing steps in a dance hall after 12 weeks of this."
The show pulled in average ratings of 537,900 and a 45pc share.
RTÉ has yet to sign off on a second series but it looks increasingly likely that production company Shinawil will get the go-ahead given that both director general Dee Forbes and RTÉ channel controller Adrian Lynch attended the final.
If there is a second series, producer Larry Bass intends to launch a nationwide tour similar to the 'Strictly Come Dancing Tour'.
"I think a tour would be a phenomenal success," Mr Bass said.