There was slight deja vu last weekend for newly crowned Offaly Rose Sharon Touhey as the part-time model had played the part of a Rose before!
Clara native Sharon has done some modelling work since appearing on TV3's 'The Model Agent' and as part of this she was on the cover of the RTÉ Guide with Rose of Tralee host Daithi O'Sé playing the part of the winning Rose contestant under the headline 'Who will be the next Rose?'.
"You wouldn't know it was me," Sharon, who is studying midwifery studies in Trinity College, told the Offaly Independent this week, however, explaining that in the shoot she had her back to the camera.
Speaking after her win at the Offaly Rose selection night in the County Arms Hotel in Birr last weekend Sharon said this week she's dividing her time between being thrilled at the win and nervous about her upcoming midwifery exams.
Taking time out from studying, Sharon said being selected as Offaly Rose was a great surprise.
"I wasn't really expecting it," she said this week, before expressing her appreciation for all her support. "The amount of support I've gotten is overwhelming," she said. "I've been getting cards to the door, phone calls, text messages, messages on my Facebook page..."
Originally from Clara, Sharon is the youngest of seven children born to parents Phyllis and John. All but one of Sharon's sisters live locally and will be supporting her when she goes forward to the regional finals in Portlaoise on the June bank holiday weekend. "I've told them I want them there," she said, adding that even her sister in Austria is looking into flights home for the occasion. "If I make it to Tralee she'll definitely be there though," Sharon said.
With a fortnight of exams coming up, Sharon's time will be thinly stretched to fit in all she needs to get done before the regional final. Exams begin next Tuesday, so right now Sharon is "stuck in the library". It was stage fright rather than exam nerves that struck Sharon last weekend. "I was really really nervous," she said, explaining that the presence of an audience notched up nerves. "Once I got on the stage everything was fine though," she added. As a unique party piece, Sharon treated the audience to a karate display on the night. "It went down really well," she said. "I thought it was something a little bit different and people seemed to enjoy it."
Rose of Tralee co-ordinator Steve Cronly from Tullamore agreed, saying Sharon would be an impressive representative for Offaly in the competition.