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Daithi and his Rose are parted as lovely Rita flies back to US

Rose of Tralee host Daithi O Se managed to steal just a few brief moments with his girlfriend Rita Talty at an after-party at the Festival Dome last night, before the pair went their separate ways today.

Rita, who was the first ever New Jersey Rose in 2008, has been on hand for the past two nights to support her man as he took to the stage.

The outgoing character, whose family owns a chain of pubs in New Jersey, was due to fly back to her hometown of Dumont this afternoon.

Daithi admits it's going to be difficult for the couple to maintain their long distance relationship, but hinted that a move could be on the cards down the line.

"At the moment she's living in New Jersey, so we are just waiting to see what happens," he explained.

"It's a long-distance romance but it's all going great."

The loved-up couple are now facing months apart due to Daithi's jam-packed work schedule.

The 34-year-old is set to begin hosting new daily afternoon show, Daily Extra, on RTE next Monday, but will also have his hands full at weekends from September 4 when the West's open auditions for the All Ireland Talent Show take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa in Galway.

The Kerryman's proud mother Caithlinn was also on hand to celebrate her son's small screen success last night.

Daithi revealed how the contest holds an important place in his family history, given that his mum tried out for the Chicago Rose, while living in the States in the 50s.

"She didn't win. I don't think she has ever recovered from that defeat," he laughed.

Meanwhile, it was an early night for the popular broadcaster. He had to be on the road at 8am this morning, in order to make it back to Montrose studios by lunchtime to begin rehearsals with co-host Claire Byrne.

The star explained how his future colleague could not make it to the festival to cheer him on, as she is contracted to Newstalk until next Friday -- however she had sent him a congratulatory text.

Meanwhile, Roses judge Mary Kennedy was full of praise for former presenter Ryan Tubridy, following his first official week of stepping into Gerry Ryan's shoes.

"I haven't heard a huge amount as I've been in Tralee with the festival but I believe he's the ideal candidate for the job," she said.

"They're very big shoes to fill and I don't envy Ryan the task. He's already proven himself in the last 12 months with the Late Late Show so this is just another opportunity for him to shine."