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The party's just beginning for our hero

friends and fans of X Factor diva Mary Byrne are preparing a hero's welcome for her return home to her native Ballyfermot.

MayBy's local pub, Downey's, was packed to the rafters last night as hundreds gathered to see her fight for a place in next week's final.

Despite her semi-final exit, her friends and family believe this is just the beginning for the 51-year-old Tesco cashier.

Fingers were crossed and prayers said as Mary took to the stage for her sing-off against popular teenager Cher Lloyd (17).

The mum-of-one gave a powerful performance of James Brown's It's A Man's World, which many of the pub sang along to.

But sadly, it wasn't enough as Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue all opted to save Cher.

Mary's cousin, Paul Byrne, one of the loudest supporters in the pub, told the Herald her family were "devastated" but "so proud of her".

"She is a star and we always knew it. She has lifted all of us and all of Ballyfermot out of all the terrible stuff that's going on in the country at the moment. We are definitely giving her a serious knees-up."


John Reilly, the manager of Downey's pub, says that although he and his staff are "very disappointed for her", she can expect a wonderful reception when she returns to her local.

"She'll be given a hero's welcome. We are going to throw her a big party -- the plan is for her to sing a few tunes when she is home during the week."