Small world: Two Limerick girls from the same parish in Miss Universe Ireland final

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


Small world: Two Limerick girls from the same parish in Miss Universe Ireland final

Christina Deverell, Castleconnell, and Sarah Lavin, Lisnagry, are in the running for Miss Universe Ireland

TWO Miss Universe Ireland finalists prove it is a very small world as they are from the same parish and attended the same school.

Sarah Lavin, Ireland’s top women’s 100m hurdler, is from Lisnagry. While journalism student and aspiring singer, Christina Deverell is from Castleconnell. They both attended Castletroy College.

It takes place this Thursday night, August 2 in the Mansion House in Dublin. Neither of the two thought that events like Miss Universe Ireland would be for them.

Christina, aged 19, said she always thought it is “just a pretty girl thing but I realised it was much more than that”.

“It is about empowering women. I got interested, applied for it and here I am now! I’ll definitely be nervous but I think that is normal. I just want to go and do my best and that is all I can do,” said Christina, who will be supported by mum and dad, Andrea and Pedro, her boyfriend Paul Clancy and sponsors, Ravens Hair Salon and Matthew Stephens Jewellers.

Another coincidence is that Christina went to school with Sarah’s brother Joe. The two Limerick girls have built up a firm friendship in the run up to Miss Universe Ireland.

Sarah, aged 24, won her fourth national title in the women’s 100m hurdles at the weekend. Days later she will be taking to the catwalk and she says there is no reason women can’t do both. 

“It is totally out of my comfort zone. To be honest, I was quite small-minded, I kind of viewed it as quite a shallow, fake world focusing on appearance and beauty and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Sarah, who received a call from Britney Mason, national director of Miss Universe Ireland. 

So many young girls around 13 or 14 drop out of sport, said Sarah.

“It was as if they had to make a choice – did they want to play sports or be a socialite. There was more of a focus on getting make-up and hair done. I thought that was such a shame.

“Sport has offered me so many opportunities – getting in to an Ivy League school in Princeton, part of the Ad Astra Academy in UCD for the last five years, the social circle, the experiences I’ve had, places I’ve travelled - it’s a shame that so many girls make that call so early on in their lives to withdraw from sport.

“To me, why I am doing it is just to show other girls that you don’t have to fit into any stereotype in life. We can be everything and anything and all things and one thing. That is really important,” said Sarah.

One incident epitomises this. She was outside her sponsor, Dani’s Closet, on Thomas Street for five minutes having her photograph taken in her evening gown.

“I had to put off going to get my dress for 10 days to wait for a rest day. This woman – she’s a lovely lady – asked me, ‘What am I doing? Are you still doing that running?’. I had to laugh. If it was a soccer or rugby player in a suit getting his picture taken there would be no questions asked.

“Everybody has to have a rest day and that epitomised why I am doing this. That’s not a message to send a girl – that you can only be a sports person or a glamorous person,” said Sarah, who has the backing of her parents – Emily and Ger – on the track and on the catwalk.

Sarah says individual sport can be very lonesome but she is part of the Miss Universe Ireland team.

“You feel empowered, it is so much fun and so uplifting. It is definitely not what I expected,” said Sarah.