Molly misses out on Eurovision final despite note-perfect performance in heat
Ireland's youngest ever Eurovision entry missed out on making it through to the final of the song contest.
The odds were stacked against her but schoolgirl Molly Sterling (17) was beaming as she took to the stage in Vienna last night.
The singer wowed the audience with her performance of ballad 'Playing with Numbers' at Vienna's Wiener Stadthalle, but for the second year in a row Ireland failed to qualify.
Sterling described performing in the semi final as "a privilege".
"I've had the time of my life," she said last night. "To be in the final would have been a bonus but to get to Eurovision and represent my country in the first place has been a privilege."
RTE's head of delegation Michael Kealy added: "I think I can speak for the whole country when I say how proud we are of Molly. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this talented young songwriter and it goes without saying that she has a fantastic future ahead of her."
The Czech Republic, Iceland, Malta, Portugal, San Marino and Switzerland also failed to qualify.
RTÉ Eurovision expert Marty Whelan has been in Vienna for the past week.
"The atmosphere has been fantastic," he told the Irish Independent. "However, it is slightly more subdued.
"The level of daftness isn't quite as high as previous years. My 'Daft-O-Meter' has been quiet this week."
Whelan believed the second semi-final was a particularly challenging heat.
"It was definitely the toughest one," he said.
"There are so many great songs this year. It's fantastic being in Vienna for such a historic year; it's the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision and Ireland's 50th year of competing."
Fifty years ago, Butch Moore took to the stage in Naples and Ireland's long-standing relationship with the Eurovision was copper-fastened.
Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw is the hot favourite to win. His Avicii-esque dance track 'Heroes' has been a hit with Eurovision fanatics.
Russia's entry, 'A Million Voices', performed by Polina Gagarina is another frontrunner. Despite the catchy tune, Russia's chances of winning could be hit by its stance on gay rights and the crisis in the Ukraine.
Organisers have implemented "anti-booing" technology to prevent Gagarina from being heckled.
For the first time in Eurovision history, Australia has entered the Song Contest - despite being more than 12,000 miles away.
The final takes place tomorrow night.