New lily Catriona swept off her feet

Kevin Hughes

LIFTED shoulder high by her uncle Aongus O'Donoghue, newly-crowned Lily of Killarney Catriona Reen (23) was, quite literally, swept off her feet as MC Ger Galvin announced this year's winner on Friday.

The shocked Headford woman won't have much difficulty learning the ropes, though, as she follows in the footsteps of her mother, Eithne, who won the competition exactly 30 years ago when it was also held at The Killarney Heights.

Catriona's family and work colleagues from Allure Hair Salon raised the roof in front of 600 Lily-fans at the announcement. As for Catriona, it was all a wonderful blur.

"I just couldn't believe it, all I heard was the name 'Catriona' being called out and then there was a pause. I didn't hear anything else as the girl next to me was hugging me and when I heard Allure being called out it began to sink in," the former Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra pupil said afterwards.

"The next thing I knew I was up on the stage with the trophy and flowers but it was just a fantastic night as we were dancing to all hours".

Catriona was given the Saturday off work by boss Sandra Evans but she still decided to call into the Plunkett Street premises to celebrate.

"There was fierce commotion, they were over the moon and the window was decorated as well. It's been great in the Rathmore Parish too as this year's Kerry Rose is also from there," she added.

Her parents, Owen and Eithne and brother Kieran were also in attendance and Catriona revealed that she had some sound advice on the night from her mother.

"There were huge nerves but my mom just said to enjoy the whole experience. It was very emotional but I managed to fight back the tears. It's history repeating itself as mom also won the competition in The Killarney Heights," she said.

And there's also a connection to last year's winning Lily, Ciara Guerin, as Catriona's uncle Denis Reen, is married to Ciara's aunt, Bernie.

In aid of Spa GAA Club and organised by the club's ladies committee, over 440 enjoyed a buffet dinner on the night with almost 200 more arriving for the dance afterwards.

"We were absolutely delighted with how it went," Spa GAA Ladies Committee member Geraldine O'Sullivan said. "We had tickets sold for the music after the meal and it was like the queue from Revels years ago with people waiting to get in.

"Spa GAA Club really appreciates every single business who sponsors this event and helps to make it such a success. There are a lot of people who also helped pull it all together as preparations started in January, so they all deserve huge praise too," Geraldine added.

Funds raised were still being counted this week but estimates are in the region of €12,000 and every cent will be put to good use at the club. Money raised will go towards new safety netting and a badly needed sand-based pitch for winter training.

All participants received a beautifully engraved memento on the night from Killarney Trophy Centre, presented by Danny Cooper of The Kerryman who were main sponsors on the night.


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