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Niamh bowls them over to reach finals

EUROVISION finalist Niamh Kavanagh has paid tribute to her loyal "team" for their role in propelling Ireland into tomorrow night's finals in Oslo.

Speaking after last night's second semi-final, Naas singer Niamh admitted she was "very happy" with the latest result.

Tomorrow night will be Ireland's first appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest final for four years, restoring its battered reputation in the event.

However, Niamh, who previously won the competition in 1993, graciously insisted: "It wasn't just me, it was the whole team."

She was joined on stage by her whistle-player cousin, also called Niamh Kavanagh, and Dublin singer Nikki Kavanagh.

There was some concern before last night's semi-finals as the flame-haired performer seemed to be suffering some voice problems. Yet it didn't stop her turning in a stellar performance of It's For You.


She described having "a nice adrenaline rush" before taking to the stage, but insisted: "I was very relaxed."

Niamh (42) remarked: "You go out there and there's a lot of love in the room and I felt very comfortable."

The singer was being watched on TV at home by her two young sons while her husband Paul had flown out to Oslo to join her in the Telenor arena.

Following her performance, she was forced to endure a lengthy wait for the results. Victory finally came shortly before 10pm last night.

Recalling her experiences waiting for the results in Millstreet in Cork 17 years ago, Niamh admitted: "You can't really compare it. They were both very exciting."

Ireland's odds of winning the competition have now shortened considerably, but Azerbaijan are still the firm favourites to win tomorrow night's grand final.