THE new Offaly Rose of Tralee, Brianna Connaughton, is a woman with connections. She has family connections all over the country - Tullamore, Clara, Roscommon, Waterford and Birr.
Although now based in Waterford, where she works as a Youth Juvenile Co-Ordinator, Brianna lived in Clara until she was eight and then in Tullamore and she now divides her time between Tullamore and Waterford.
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However, she represented a Birr company - Midland Web Print in the 2011 Offaly Rose of Tralee final last Friday night at the County Arms Hotel where she dazzled the audience and the judges with her quick wit, charm and humour to take the title.
Brianna now goes forward to the regional final in Portlaoise on the June bank holiday weekend.
When asked did she perform a party piece Brianna pointed out that she didn’t sing or dance, but that if there were any unruly members of the audience should could deal with them very quickly and easily! “You could say I have the gift of the gab,” joked Brianna.
Brianna’s job sees her dealing with young offenders through the Garda Youth Diversion Programme.
“I love my work and it means that you are well able to cope with whatever comes your way. Some of the questions in the interview were a little hard, but the group interview was great and they got to see how we all interacted with each other.
“It is a great honour to represent Offaly. I really enjoyed the Offaly final and I’m really looking forward to the Regional Final. I want to do my best for Offaly as it’s about time that we had an Offaly Rose in the Dome.”
Brianna was accompanied by her father Jim, who was stationed in Tullamore for many years, and her boyfriend. Later in the night when her sister in Waterford heard that she had won, she got in her car and made the two hour journey to Birr to join in the celebrations.
There were 18 finalists in the Offaly Rose final and eight participants in the Offaly Escort competition with Damien Kearns from Guy Clothing, Tullamore emerging as the winner.
Damien now goes forward to Escort Boot Camp and if successful he will go on to the Rose of Tralee final in September.
“I hope he does well and that we both get to Tralee,” added Brianna.