Rose: ‘I said no, no, no but I meant yes, yes, yes’
IT was a case of ‘no, no, no' – but what she really meant was ‘yes'.
The New Orleans rose today clarified that she is absolutely delighted with the marriage proposal made by her boyfriend live on stage at the Rose of Tralee festival.
The sight of Kyle Catlett on bended knee resulted in a nervous few moment for the organisers when a stunned Molly Molloy Gambel appeared to initially turn him down.
The 23-year-old contestant said “no, no, no, please don’t...yes” when she saw her college sweetheart arrive with a ring.
But she explained today that her odd reaction stemmed merely from the shock.
“I was not saying no to the proposal, I was just saying no the idea of, ‘oh my gosh, no no no this is really happening’. I couldn't believe it was happening to me at the time, I was just shocked,” she told RTE radio.
“I just couldn't believe that Kyle was so bold to get up there and, you know, to propose to me, it just shows his love for me. I was excited. We had been talking about it for a while…I'm so happy he proposed to me, I was just surprised it had been there.”
The marriage proposal live on stage was a first for the Rose of Tralee festival.
In front of a packed Dome and before an estimated half-a-million viewers at home – not to mention the hundreds of thousands more who tuned in on the internet – brave Kyle wore his heart on his sleeve and popped the question to the Alabama graduate.
Kyle, who hails from Florida, said his heart was beating wildly but he was encouraged when he heard the boyfriend of the 1993 New Orleans Rose had done the same thing – though not live on stage.
Due to the initial confusion, host Daithi O Se intervened to check that the couple had in fact agreed to get married.
“I was just making sure the answer was yes. The ‘no no no,' that was like ‘oh my God I can't believe it was happening', but yes, I just wanted to clear the air and make sure that it was a yes and that everyone was happy,” he said.
Molly explained that the couple had been planning on getting married for a while but said she had no idea he would propose while in Ireland.
She revealed that the couple's first date was in a hospital after Kyle broke his toe.
“He had broken his toe and didn't have a ride to the hospital, so we spent long hours in the hospital to get his toe fixed. Later that week we went on a favourite date to my favourite restaurant so it was great,” she said.
Meanwhile, blessed among women was Co Louth's Johnny McGailey (25), who was voted Escort Of The Year.
The strength and conditioning coach with the Louth senior football panel, who is escorting the Leitrim Rose, described it as one of the “best weeks of his life”.
Meanwhile, one of the country's best known former Roses has defended the festival which was described by one critic as “a cattle mart with hair spray”.
Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, who was the 2005 winner representing Mayo, said she never felt demeaned by taking part in it and was “incredibly proud” to have been a Rose.
Her defence of the festival follows comments made by columnist Katy Harrington who described it as “fake”, “offensive” and “cringe worthy” that didn't represent modern Irish women.
Speaking on Newstalk radio, Ms Ni Shuilleabhain said: “I had a great time doing it and I didn’t feel demeaned at all and I didn’t feel I was causing anyone else embarrassment. I didn’t feel it was derogatory to me to participate in it.”