Érinn's the star
THE Glen Theatre was packed to the rafters last Friday night as the nine talented finalists took to the stage to battle it out for the 2014 Voice of the Glen crown.
Few could have imagined back in January that the competition would capture the imaginations of locals in the manner it did, with the 64 contestants who took part in the heats performing in front of capacity crowds each night.
With each passing week the competition gathered extra momentum to the point where it was almost the sole topic of conversation in homes and pubs across the Duhallow region.
The atmosphere in Banteer last Friday night was truly electric, with every available space in the audience claimed more than an hour before the final was due to start.
Seamus O'Keeffe, PRO at the Glen Theatre, said he has never experienced anything quite like it.
"The buzz around the place was just incredible. We had 170 in the auditorium, 80 people in the kitchen and storeroom and another 50 people in the bar watching the action of widescreen televisions," said Seamus.
"To be honest, we could have comfortably sold out the final three times over if we had the space. Last Friday was a truly magical finish to what has been an amazing ten weeks for us at the Glen and for everyone involved with the competition," he added.
The five judges, actor and singer Paul Creighton, singer Alannah Dennehy, All-Ireland Scór winner Marie Twomey, Declan Ryan of the Royal Showband and Conor McKay (aka 'the Singing Brickie'), were given the unenviable task of picking the winners.
After much soul searching they eventually announced Érinn O Connell, a 20-year-old UCC student from Aghabullogue, as the overall winner.
She won a cool €1,000, with another €500 going to her sponsor, The Blarney Castle Hotel.
Second place and a cheque for €250 went to Catrione Hickey representing OC's Bar, Kanturk with Una Marie Cremin representing Jeff's Bar, Castlemagner securing third place and a cheque for €100.
Seamus said that there was a palpable sense of disappointment that the competition had reached its conclusion.
"One person approached me after the final and asked what he would do with his Friday nights 'now it was all over?'. That summed up the spirit of the competition and how much it meant to the local community," said Seamus
"At the start of the competition the organising committee felt we were onto something good. But we honestly had no real idea of just how successful it would be. Will it be back next year? I'd say so," he laughed.