WIN, lose or draw at the regional finals of the Rose of Tralee this weekend, Limerick Rose Suzanne O’Brien has already been an “excellent ambassador” for her county.
This is according to Denis Griffin, co-ordinator of the Limerick Rose Centre, who was appointed this year after the committee that had long been in place locally decided to step down.
The county has not been represented at the Tralee event proper since Melanie Carroll in 2007 but Denis, who also co-ordinates the Galway Rose selection, believes that Adare’s Suzanne has “done herself proud” in her time as Limerick Rose.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for Suzanne as she heads off to Portlaoise as our wonderful Limerick Rose and as an excellent ambassador for the county of Limerick,” said Mr Griffin.
“Suzanne will do herself, her family, her county and indeed the Limerick Rose Centre very proud in Portlaoise and no matter what the outcome, she will still be our Rose for the year ahead. We wish her the very best of luck,” he added.
Twenty-four-year-old Suzanne, a broadcast journalist with Live 95FM, says she is living her dream in representing her county at the regional finals.
The University of Limerick graduate will take to the stage with Dáithí Ó Sé midway through the third selection night in the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise on Sunday.
She will be up against 29 other Irish Roses competing for six places at the August international event in Tralee and admits it would be a “dream” to qualify.
“I never in a million years thought I would be there but it was a dream growing up and for the last couple of years it was on my mind,” explained Suzanne, a keen equestrian competitor who has won medals for horse showing.
“It was mainly down to my colleagues, friends and family who encouraged me to go for it, and I just felt this year was the right time,” she added.
Suzanne said it would be “amazing” to reverse Limerick’s run of bad luck and qualify for the event, but she stressed representing her county in a positive way is as important.
“To represent such a great city and county and great people and my family and friends, it would mean everything, I would be really proud and honoured to do it,” she said.
“It would be amazing but to be honest the main thing would be representing Limerick and being an ambassador, I think it is about time we got a break and got some good publicity, because there is so much going on here.”