Kerry Rose among the favourites to claim crown
KERRY Rose Mary Hickey is among the bookies' favourites to win this year's Rose of Tralee.
The Rathmore native is among the top six of the 32 contenders with various bookies deeming her one of the most likely candidates to take the crown from reigning Rose Haley O'Sullivan.
Mary, who was attracting odds of 7/1 on Tuesday, is receiving strong support from punters, although she remains some way behind current bookies' favourite Carlow Rose Miriam Smith who, at odds of 10/3, is the most heavily backed so far.
The Kerry Rose is in joint sixth place with the bookies, sharing the position and odds with Nottingham Rose Claire Regan. Killorglin native Patrice McGillycuddy, this year's Abu Dhabi Rose, is also attracting strong support with odds of 8/1 putting her in seventh place. A Kerry Rose has never won the Rose of Tralee title, although one Tralee woman has worn the crown. Junior nurse Margaret O'Keeffe Flynn won the title in 1964 when she represented Tralee.
The Rose of Tralee is a surprisingly lucrative event for bookies. Last year punters bet over €700,000 on the pageant at Paddy Power's alone making it one of the company's biggest novelty events of the year. Paddy Power's have since dubbed it "The Grand National of Novelty Betting."
The X Factor and The Eurovision are the only other annual novelty events on which Paddy Power take more money than the Rose of Tralee.
This means the Rose outstrips the Oscars, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Big Brother in betting terms.
And for what it's worth - 2013 winner Haley O'Sullivan was the bookies' favourite ahead of last year's festival on odds of 9/4.