SHE may be from Meelick, but the Limerick Rose for 2014 considers herself to be of true Limerick rugby stock.
Dawn Ryan, 21, whose father Ray played for Young Munster, has been crowned the 2014 Limerick Rose, after edging ahead of 22 other hopefuls in the Castletroy Park Hotel at the weekend.
Her younger brothers - triplets Evan, Gavin and Darren, who play for the Young Munster senior team and are no strangers to the headlines, were also delighted that their sister is now stepping into the limelight.
The care worker with Enable Ireland in Mungret, who were her sponsors, said she was not expecting at all to win on the night, and believes that the initial expression on her face spoke volumes.
“I had no idea in the world at all that I’d be chosen. All the Roses spent the last two weeks touring Limerick and we had such a fantastic time I was just glad to be part of it all. On the night, I said I would just sit back, relax and enjoy it, and look forward to whoever would go forward to Portlaoise - little did I know it would be myself.
“It was a fantastic night. I was totally shocked. I am just so honoured to be representing Limerick this year, especially the year that’s in it with Limerick being City of Culture. I’m really looking forward to Portlaoise and to be honest, anything after that will be a major bonus, and I just want to be the best ambassador I can possibly be for Limerick city and county for the next 12 months”.
Her dad Ray is from Meelick, and mum Trish is from Cratloe, but she said “with Thomond Park just three minutes away” - Limerick and rugby has always been in their blood.
While her upcoming duties as the Limerick Rose have not yet to be finalised, Dawn is looking forward to doing the 10km race in the Great Limerick Run in May, and a walk as part of Darkness into Light for Pieta House, to raise funds for those suffering from depression. A Celebrity Jigs & Reels contestant for breast cancer services in the Mid-West in 2011, she will also be stepping it out again this year, by doing a tango in September for the victims of the flooding in Limerick.
Limerick has won the crown twice - in 1984 and 1994 - with Dianne Hannagen and Muirne Hurley, taking home the tiaras, and this year will mark the 20th anniversary of Limerick’s last win. Limerick hasn’t had a finalist in the Dome in Tralee for the past six years, but fingers will be crossed that this year’s Limerick Rose will be selected in the regional finals in Portlaoise in June to make it through to the Dome in Tralee for the August festival.
Editorial, page 16; more pictures, page 18