Tipperary Rose Sheila Ryan
The Premier County will be keeping its fingers crossed this Saturday in the hope that Tipperary Rose Sheila Ryan will blossom and make the final of this year's Rose of Tralee.
Sheila, 24, from Toomevara, must face the agony of going through the semi-final stages this weekend to find out if she will be on stage when the show is televised next Monday and Tuesday.
“I am hoping I'll do the county proud, no matter what happens,” the former All-Ireland minor camogie medal winner told the Tipperary Star, who said she was both "proud and humbled" to represent the county in the contest.
The semi-finals are not televised and Sheila will be under the watchful eye of the judges from Wednesday, August 16, when the festival begins, with the final names only being released on Saturday.
A psychiatric nurse with South Tipperary Mental Health Services, Sheila said that as well as representing her county, she was representing women from all over Ireland.
“The Rose of Tralee is not a beauty contest. The calibre and high achievement standards of the girls taking part is phenomenal,” she said. “They all have great personalities.”
Sheila herself is not lacking in people skills, posing for adults and children alike when we met up with her as she compered the Best Dressed section of the North Tipperary Agricultural Show.
The bubbly GAA enthusiast who started her camogie career at the age of five with Toome and played senior camogie with Tipperary for five years, was the essence of charm and calm, having a word with all her fans, young and old.
She thanked all those who have supported her and was looking to the Rose of Tralee itself getting underway when she meets all the other Roses as they make their way down to Tralee.
And her father, John, said he was equally proud of his daughter, and, hopefully, she would woo the judges and make it to the final stages of the event.
“Being Tipperary Rose is a wonderful achievement in itself,” he said.
Sheila is the youngest of four siblings, and revealed that all through her teenage years, her desire to work in a caring profession grew.
“In 2012, I started my training as a psychiatric nurse in Waterford Institute of Technology. In 2018, I hope to complete a post-graduate degree and work in child and adolescence mental health services,” she said.
She said that as a psychiatric nurse, she understood the importance of independent organisations that primarily help to raise awareness of mental health in society.
“As the Tipperary Rose, I am honoured to be working alongside Pieta House this year to help raise much needed funds for the prevention of suicide and selfharm,” said Sheila.
As well as the GAA, Sheila, who won two Ashbourne All-Irelands with WIT, enjoys horse racing, which she said, was also a major aspect of her family life.
In her spare time she enjoys travelling, fashion and reading.
However, becoming the Tipperary Rose was a childhood dream come true.
“I am so honoured and humbled to be representing my county and the people of Tipperary. I can’t wait to make amazing memories with my new Rose sisters, Rose Buds, Rose Escorts and everyone involved in the Rose of Tralee Festival,” said Sheila.