Cavan Rose wows audience

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 26th August, 2009 12:00pm

Tara Cunningham, the Cavan Rose, was selected to perform at the opening night of the Rose of Tralee selection last night. Tara had the crowd spellbound as she played 'The Chualainn & Sudoku' on the tinwhistle. Three Roses with Cavan connections were selected to perform this year in the televised section of the festival.

Following on from Tara, Luxembourg Rose, Siobhan O'Reilly executed a difficult slip jig in fine style. She was cheered on by her grandmother Monica O'Reilly from Seefin near Bailieborough. Siobhan spoke exclusively to The Anglo-Celt ahead of her performance last night. Smiling and looking relaxed she said of the festival: "It's amazing and crazy how busy it all gets and all you learn from it."

She didn't look nervous about the performance as she autographed a newspaper for a star-struck young girl, saying: "I don't have time to get nervous, I think that's probably for the best." She had a special message for all her family and supporters in Bailieborough. "Thanks so much for the support, they're so proud. They've only had good things to say about it."

Tonight's show will be opened by the Queensland Rose, Kelly O'Shea. Kelly's paternal grandmother, Mary Armstrong, was from Drumcalpin near Butlersbridge. Kelly will play the piano and sing the song 'Fallin' made famous by American soul singer Alicia Keys.

The trio of talented Cavan girls will also be joined in performance by Tara Maguire from Derrylin in Co. Fermanagh, who's representing Washington D.C. in the festival and will be entertaining the crowd in the Dome by playing the tinwhistle.

All of the Roses with Cavan connections have made friends in the short time that they have been together. Siobhan and the New Jersey Rose, Genevieve O'Reilly whose father is from Shercock, have discovered that their relationship goes further. Siobhan explained: "We're related. We worked out that we're third cousins. Our families have all met, it's been great."

All eyes will be glued to the box tonight to see if any of the Cavan girls take the crowd in this the golden jubilee of the festival.

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