Philly Rose hoping for Mayo win
Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30
She is the newly crowned Rose of Tralee representing Kerry, the festival and Irish communities abroad - but come Sunday all bets are off as she dons her Mayo jersey.
The 2014 International Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh says she's in the process of extending her trip so she can wipe the smirk off host and Kerryman Daithi O Se's face when his side are beaten by Mayo in Croke Park.
The 27-year-old studio manager with Philadelphia clothing company Anthropologie Group, who represented the City of Brotherly Love at this year's festival, had planned to be back at work on Monday.
Born in Boston, Maria returned to Shrule in Co Mayo with her family 20 years ago when she was just seven.
"Now I want to see his (O Se's) face when Mayo beat them," she joked. "This crown and sash are obviously at the heart of it all but it's a different day in Croke Park in September," she added.
Sporting rivalry aside, O Se had huge praise for the winner.
The 56th Rose also spoke about how she would love to encourage more modern, educated women to enter the competition, which she described as a great opportunity.
"I'm not the only one with short hair and a few tattoos. Certainly there are long-haired girls with tattoos a bit on the unconventional side.
"It's more than looks. This festival prides itself on family and the values that are instilled within young Irish, modern women and that comes across."
Over 694,000 people tuned in to watch the second half of the show on Tuesday night, peaking at a massive 760,300 who viewed Maria being named the 56th Rose.