One of the four Roses representing the UK in this summer’s Rose of Tralee competition will be a young woman from Golden.
Niamh O’Connell, from Ballinlina in Golden, will be representing Sunderland at the annual Kerry pagent, later this summer.
Niamh is a full time student at Sunderland University where she is studying for a Masters in Pharmacy, and she hopes to pursue a career in either a hospital or industry, in the aseptic unit of a hospital or lab.
The 20-year-old is captain of the University of Sunderland Woman’s first team and president of the university hockey club. Sport has always been a huge part of her life and helped her win sports girl of the year at secondary school. She intends to play ladies football with her local GAA club in Newcastle in the summer and has played both hockey and camogie at various underage levels in both Tipperary and Munster.
Niamh moved to England when she was 17 to further her education, and as well as studying for her degree also works in an Irish bar in Sunderland to support herself.
The daughter of Michael and Margaret (formerly O’Donnell of Poulmucka), who farm at Ballinlina, Niamh has two brothers and three sisters.
There is great excitement in the parish, according to neighbour and local representative, Deputy Tom Hayes.
The Rose of Tralee competition will take place from August 19 to 23, with the televised show on Monday and Tuesday, August 22 and 23.
Thanks to The Sunderland Echo for the photograph.