Limerick Rose Kayleigh Maher on stage with Dáithí Ó Sé on the first of the live RTE broadcast finals of the Rose of Tralee Picture: Rose of Tralee
A ‘SUPERFAN’ from South Korea, a new teaching job starting this Friday and a dose of slagging for the boyfriend of more than six years were all laid bare when Limerick Rose Kayleigh Maher took to the Tralee stage this Monday night.
Kayleigh’s warm personality bubbled to the fore when she came face to face with Dáithí Ó Sé on the first of the live RTE broadcast finals of the Rose of Tralee – but it was her poor boyfriend Joe who was told that he “has a face for radio”!
Dáithí also said that he thought Kayleigh was “running for election” after a drive out the N69, as signs have been erected in her honour in her native Kilcornan.
“That wasn’t me, I wasn’t putting them up,” Kayleigh laughed.
“I was selected the middle of April, and since then, the amount of businesses and shops – and people from my own parish – that have gotten behind me has been absolutely incredible,” she added.
Kayleigh was the first Limerick Rose in 10 years to be selected to appear on the RTE One broadcast of the Rose of Tralee competition.
The 24-year-old English teacher told the Dome that she has just finished studying for her Master’s in teaching in Galway, after studying Arts in Mary Immaculate College.
“I have a job starting this Friday, so I’ll have to get a bit of sleep,” she said.
And Kayleigh revealed that a ‘superfan’ from the other side of the world started contacting her after she was chosen as the Limerick Rose.
A South Korean fan started photoshopping the Kilcornan woman on to photos of landmarks around the world, posting them on her Limerick Rose Facebook page.
Despite blocking the eager photoshopper, she saw the funny side and saved the photos – “I love them, they’re hilarious!”
Kayleigh and her boyfriend Joe travelled to Vietnam to teach last summer, and she also told viewers about her passion for horses.
When the camera cut to Joe, Dáithí said: “If we could just indulge Joe for a second… It says here, ‘Joe, together six and a half years – he’s dying to be on telly!’”
Later in the evening, Ballybrown man Paul Fitzgerald was announced as a shortlisted runner-up for Escort of the Year.
The Live 95fm presenter is better known by the moniker ‘Street Boy’.
The reaction to Kayleigh's appearance was overwhelmingly positive. Watch it back on the RTE Player here: