Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gobsmacked O'Mahony dedicates final victory to his 'little girl Lucia'

GAA star crowned first 'Dancing with the Stars' champion thanks to public vote
Aidan O’Mahony and Valeria Milova during the final Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Aidan O’Mahony and Valeria Milova during the final Photo: Kyran O’Brien

Jennifer O'Brien

Footballer Aidan O'Mahony has been crowned winner of the first series of RTÉ's 'Dancing with the Stars', dedicating his win to his newborn baby daughter Lucia.

The Kerryman battled it out with other contestants Denise McCormack and Aoibhín Garrihy during the grand finale at Ardmore Film Studios in Wicklow.

Speaking with his glitter ball trophy in hand, a thrilled O'Mahony also praised dance partner Valeria Milova, saying she got the "short straw" with him.

"I'm gobsmacked," he said. "I was like a statue on week one. To get here is incredible. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

"Valeria brought me along and brought me to this point. I genuinely think our last dance was the best - we gave it everything and had four days down in Kerry preparing for that."

O'Mahony hadn't been the judges' favourite to win the series, with the lowest votes from the three remaining finalists across the show from the judges.

Denise McCormack and Ryan McShane perform during the final of RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Denise McCormack and Ryan McShane perform during the final of RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

However, he was a major favourite with the public.

"I'm dedicating this to my little woman Lucia. Daddy will be home in two days."

The show kicked off with presenters Nicky Byrne and Amanda Byram joining judges Julian Benson, Loraine Barry and Brian Redmond and the pros for a group performance.

RTÉ's director general Dee Forbes and channel controller Adrian Lynch were given a tour backstage before watching the final.

Other well-known guests in the audience included Minister Denis Naughten, Gavin Duffy, Norah Casey, Eoghan McDermott and Nicky Byrne's wife Georgina.

Speaking before taking to the stage, O'Mahony insisted that no matter what the result on the night, he felt like a winner anyway.

McCormack admitted she had burst into tears at numerous stages during the week's rehearsals with partner Ryan McShane.

"It has been such an emotional time - I just can't believe it's all going to be over," she told the Irish Independent.

Aoibhín Garrihy and Vitali Kozmin during one of their three dances at Ardmore Film Studios, Wicklow Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Aoibhín Garrihy and Vitali Kozmin during one of their three dances at Ardmore Film Studios, Wicklow Picture: Kyran O'Brien

"There were lots of tears all week, I think it all just caught up with me, and you realise how long you have been in the competition, how far you've come."

Each of the finalists performed three dances - two previous numbers from the show and one new "show dance".

O'Mahony and Milova danced to 'Holding Out for a Hero' by Bonnie Tyler as their new dance - the dance earned the pair a standing ovation, with Barry saying: "This was the perfect way to end your performance. This was epic."

Former 'Fair City' actress Garrihy danced a sensational bare-footed contemporary ballroom number to 'Chandelier' by Sia.

Backstage, former contestants including Hughie Maughan, Des Bishop, Des Cahill and Teresa Mannion arrived early in the afternoon and prepared to take to the floor one last time.

"It's fantastic to be back - I've really missed everyone," Maughan said. "We get one last night on the tiles now so we have to go out with a bang."

After the show, contestants and crew headed into Dublin for the official after-show party at 37 Dawson Street.

Irish Independent

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