Ryan confident of scaling heights to the Eurovision final
Ryan O'Shaughnessy has told how the "mammoth task" of representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest has only just dawned on him.
The Dubliner (25) will perform his song 'Together' and believes that, after a string of losses in recent years, it's Ireland's time to shine once again.
"I'm feeling really good. There's a big Irish flag on the wall and I have my friends around me. I'll be representing my country and it's only dawned on me in the last few days the mammoth task ahead and how important it is for Ireland to succeed this year in the Eurovision. I think we're on the right path," he said.
Eurovision commentator Marty Whelan recently joined the Irish delegation in Lisbon and has been imparting words of wisdom to Ryan after his years on the ground.
"It's great having Marty here as well the last few days. It's his 20th year of the Eurovision and he knows a lot of people, so he's been introducing me to a few heads and he's been giving me a few tips as well on how to cope with the nerves.
"But to be honest, I don't really feel too nervous because I've got great people around me and I think we're all feeling confident in our performance," he said.
If Ryan qualifies for Saturday's final, he will be the first Irish act to reach it since Ryan Dolan in 2013.
"It's an honour to be asked to perform for my country. It's not something I take lightly and hopefully I'll go out with the energy and support of my Irish brothers and sisters and hopefully do us proud," he said.
Eurovision has attracted A-list celebrities in recent years, with Justin Timberlake performing at the 2016 ceremony. Ryan is joined in Lisbon by his family, including his uncle Gary O'Shaughnessy, who represented Ireland in the contest in 2001 with the song 'Without Your Love'. The Eurovision semi-final airs tonight on RTÉ 2 at 8pm.