Sunday 25 February 2018

'You want to do your partner proud' - Dancing's Aidan

Aidan O’Mahony and Valeria Milova during the live performance of RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Aidan O’Mahony and Valeria Milova during the live performance of RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Jennifer O'Brien

He famously played on for 40 minutes with a broken leg during a club final in Kerry, and footballer Aidan O'Mahony would have no problem finishing this weekend's 'Dancing with the Stars' routine if he picked up an injury.

"When you manage to play on with a broken leg sure you would have to stick out the minute-and-a-half of dancing if anything happened," the five-time All-Ireland winner laughs. "I would definitely have to carry on until the end."

The 36-year-old sportsman has emerged as the dark horse of the series, with judges noting he has the potential to be "box office" following his first high-tempo routine with partner Valeria Milova two weeks ago. This weekend sees the first eliminations from the RTÉ show and Aidan and Valeria are rehearsing at a North Dublin dance studio, attempting to nail the quickstep.

Outside in the lobby, fellow contestant Hughie Maughan is eating lunch and looking a paler shade of Ronseal than during his much-talked about appearance on last Sunday's show. A handful of teenage girls wait outside, eager to catch a glimpse of the stars of the show.

As Hughie chats away with production staff and comedian Des Bishop, Aidan is already well into rehearsing his routine with Valeria.

Clearly a perfectionist and tough character in sport, does it carry over to dancing?

"When you are here, you give it 100pc," he says.

"I'm not a natural dancer and of course you want to get it as right as possible.

"With football, you know what you have to do out on the pitch, but this is something new and most of my energy just goes into learning it. Before I go onstage there are serious butterflies and you really worry about doing your dance partner proud. She's tough, she tells me I'm fit and I should be picking it up and she's right..."

Aidan juggles rehearsals with his full-time job as a garda and football training, travelling to Dublin every Thursday and back down to Kerry on Sunday evenings following the show.

With wife Denise expecting their first child in March, there's little time for rest.

"The quickstep is the total opposite to the salsa, which was more of a fun dance," he says.

"There's a bit of acting in it and I'm concentrating on getting it right. You have to have your posture and your frame right. It was pointed out to me on week one that my posture was bad so I'm trying to get that."

He admits he has come in for quite some ribbing from his Garda colleagues and teammates alike since hitting the dance floor.

"The sheer costume I wore on week one really brought them out.

"Everyone was saying that I definitely picked it out and that it was see-through."

'Dancing With The Stars' continues on RTÉ One tomorrow at 6.30pm

Irish Independent

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