The family and friends of Ireland’s Eurovision representative Molly Sterling from Puckaun, Nenagh, are gearing up for the talented singer’s next hurdle - getting through to the final.
Having triumphed at EuroSong on last Friday’s Late Late Show with Playing With Numbers, Molly must now focus on May 21 to win a place in the final proper.
But before that she faces an even more important date when she celebrates her 17th birthday this Sunday.
And while most of her family will make Vienna, her brother, Sam, will remain at home as he has just started a new business and will have to concentrate on that. However, he will be glued to the TV.
Mother Rachel and dad Andrew wil make the trip, along with older sister Natasha, who will be sitting her final exams in Maynooth around then, but will jet off on the day if necessary to support Molly.
“We are very proud of her,” Rachel told the Tipperary Star. “We didn’t expect to win and hadn’t thought past Friday. We just wanted her to be proud of her performance.”
And in all the excitement of organising friends and groups to vote, Rachel revealed that she almost forgot to vote for Molly herself .
The proud mum said Molly just wanted to get the exposure to showcase her talent, pointing out that the song had not been written specifically with EuroSong in mind.
“It wasn’t a pressurised thing. She drew from all the team around her. They had some fun. She won enjoying herself,” said Rachel.
She paid tribute to co-writer and producer Greg French, saying: “I trust him with her life.”
Rachel claimed that nobody else in the family had a “note in their head”, and recalled that Molly had won the Tipp Teen Idol contest in November 2011, winning a Popstar Studios recording prize, with a song she wrote herself.
Molly also came second for Girl’s Vocal Solo at the 2012 Kilkenny Music Festival, supported Runaway GO at a gig in Nenagh Arts Centre in 2012, finished second in TV3’s All Ireland Schools’ Talent Search in May 2014 and released her first EP, Strands of Heart, in November 2014.
Rachel also thanked all the people in Tipperary who had supported Molly, especially the pupils at Puckaun National School, which Molly attended.
“They made a banner, and while it was too big for the RTE studio, it is going to Vienna,” she said.
She also praised the staff and headmaster at Molly’s school, St Andrew’s College in Blackrock, Dublin, saying they had been very supportive.
Meanwhile, Minister Alan Kelly congratulated Molly on winning. “This is a huge achievement for a 16 year old. We are all very proud of Molly in Tipperary and will be behind her all the way. The very best of luck to Molly in the Eurovision in Vienna later this year. Congratulations to her parents Rachel and Andrew, her grandmother Hilary and the extended Sterling and Henry families.”