By Martin Mannering and David Hennessy
Westmeath born Lisa O’Halloran was crowned as the Liverpool Rose at St. Michael’s Irish Centre on Saturday May 4. Lisa told The Irish World of her delight: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. The night was brilliant, the girls were all fantastic. My parents were over and my sister was down so that was lovely. When they called my name, I got such a shock, I just wasn’t expecting it at all. I’m so looking forward to Portlaoise now. We can’t wait now.”
Lisa wowed judges on the night with a humorous poem written by herself, called ‘What’s My Talent?’ She now goes on to the Rose of Tralee regional final in Portlaoise May 31 to June 3. The 24 year old from Athlone is studying for her PhD in Sports Psychology at the city’ s John Moores University where she also attained her degree and masters.
Lisa spoke of how proud he is representing the city she has lived in since 2006: “Liverpool’s been my home for nearly a third of my life. I’ve studied at Liverpool John Moores for seven years and they’ve allowed me to grow professionally and academically and grow as a person as well. I owe so much to the city and the warmth of the city. I’ve never really experienced homesickness over here because there are just so many similarities to Ireland. I’m just so proud and I hope I can do the business in Portlaoise.”
When asked what motivated her decision to enter this year’s competition, Lisa explained it was a combination of household tradition and a recent glimpse of the festival: “When we were growing up, we always used to watch it so I think it was always in the back of my mind. But it was actually last summer, I went down with two of my friends to the festival in Tralee and we just had the best couple of days. It was fantastic and just to get that insight into what it was actually like and the buzz down there, it kind of got me thinking. I was talking to my dad and my auntie about it and they were giving me encouragement to enter this year and then, living my sister as well she was great support and gave me the last nudge to enter it. I think it’s being there and seeing it having grown up with it, I just thought this year would be a good year to enter. Thankfully it’s all gone well so far.”
Lisa, who says her “life revolves around football”, played soccer for Leinster for two years, even being included in a Republic of Ireland extended squad before moving to the UK. Since coming to Liverpool, she has played GAA for her university and Liverpool Wolfe Tones who reached the 2012 All-Britain Junior Final in their first year as a team.
Lisa has served an internship with Liverpool FC while studying for her masters and is now researching with the Premier League.
Lisa, who overcame five other finalists to land the crown, was sponsored on the night by Natalies’s Hair and Make-Up. The event itself was sponsored by one of Liverpool’s leading law firms Canter Levin & Berg without whom the competition would not have been possible.