NEWSREADER Suzanne O’Brien is hoping to be the first Limerick Rose to take to the Dome in the Rose of Tralee this summer, as the county has failed to make it through to the grand finale in five years.
While there were 18 strong contenders for the title, broadcaster Suzanne O’Brien, 24, from Adare, wowed the judging panel - including Muirne Hurley, former Limerick Rose of Tralee - in the Carlton Castletroy Park on Friday night.
In front of a packed crowd of up to 300 people, she was crowned the Limerick Rose for 2012, and said she was “absolutely stunned” when her name was called.
“The last two weeks have been the best experience ever. All the girls were rooting for each other and we all got on so well. It really didn’t feel like a competition,” she told the Limerick Leader.
“I am really looking forward to the whole experience and I’m going to give it my all. I just can’t wait,” she said.
Ms O’Brien will now go through to the regional final in Portlaoise on the June Bank Holiday weekend, where Melanie Carroll was the last Limerick Rose to make it through this selection process in 2007.
But there is renewed optimism this year as the Rose of Tralee judges recently cast an eye over the Limerick contenders and noted an “extremely high standard”, according to Denis Griffin, co-ordinator of the Limerick Rose Centre, appointed after the previous committee that was in place stood down last year. “Suzanne will be a fantastic representative and ambassador for Limerick and all the girls who took part. She’s a very confident, positive girl. The regional final is just a minor step along the way; she will still be the Limerick Rose no matter what,” said Mr Griffin.
Ms O’Brien works as a broadcast journalist at Limerick’s Live 95FM where she can be heard reading the news and delivering traffic reports, and also works behind the scenes as a researcher. The University of Limerick journalism graduate previously undertook work experience in the Limerick Leader, worked as a street ambassador in the city, and is a highly experienced and successful horsewoman. She has competed nationally on the Irish horse-showing circuit and in the UK.