A LIMERICK psychology student was crowned the first runner-up in the Mr Gay Ireland contest at the weekend.
Colin Carmody, 23, from the South Circular Road, said he was “shocked” to be crowned first runner up. But it was the support of his mother, Lucy, on the night which meant even more to him.
“All the contestants have someone to introduce them on stage, normally by a famous drag queen, but when my mom heard about it she wanted to do it,” he explained.
Colin said he only ‘came out’ about being gay eight months ago, and his mum told the audience what a happier person he has become since he opening up about his sexuality.
“It was an amazing, brilliant night. It was great craic and I was in shock to come second. No one from Limerick is ever placed. I didn’t expect anything.
“My mother is an absolute star. She got a mention from the presenter, saying ‘Didn’t the Limerick mammy do well tonight?’ She did me proud. She just said how happy she was to see that I was now happy [after coming out]. It was a very emotional moment. My mother was the only mother that was there, so I was delighted.”
Colin added that this is the whole message of the competition - being supportive of others’ choices. He is hoping to give a number of talks in local schools in the near future. “This is about more than just wearing a sash, it’s the responsibility that comes with it. So I can’t wait to do that, helping people to come out about their sexuality,” he said.
Mr Gay Ireland has raised almost €130,000 for HIV charities and this year the contestants have supported similar projects at St James’ Hospital in Dublin. After 23 heats nationwide, the contest featured entrants from 18 to 34, and contestants from Brazil and Canada amongst the top 16, who were selected from over 120 entrants.
The winner was Robert Obara, a 24 year-old student doctor, who received the honour in the Arlington hotel in Dublin on Sunday night. He will now represent Ireland in the European championship in Prague and at Mr Gay World as part of Outgames 2013 in Antwerp. Patrick Beary, from Wexford, was placed third. Conor O’Kane, a 19 year-old barman, from Strabane was crowned Mr Gay Northern Ireland.
“This is the eighth year of our nationwide hunt for a positive role model,” said the organisers.