The Westmeath Rose says she’s hopeful that she will get the opportunity to perform what will arguably be the most unusual party piece in the competition’s 59-year history.
Leanne Quinn from Coralstown has promised that she will squat lift host Dáithí Ó Sé on live TV if she makes it through to The Dome next Monday or Tuesday night – only 32 of the 57 Roses make it through to the live selection nights. Power lifter and qualified fitness instructor Leanne, who is studying for a Masters in Sports Performance at UL, executed her party piece at the final of the Westmeath Rose in April. The lucky man on that occasion was judge Eugene Sheehy.
Speaking this week, Leanne says she has already spoken to Kerry native Dáithí about being lifted in front of a TV audience of close to a million people, and he’s up for it. He told her he has been hitting the gym in a bid to lose a few pounds before the festival. “He’s quite tall and I’m only about five foot five so it will be some feat if it goes ahead. He said [when they spoke recently] that he’s down from 17st to 16 and a half and how to get down to 16st (102kg).”
Leanne, who weighs around 57kg, says that she has lifted just over 100kg before.
“I’m just hoping to God all my training will have paid off. I can’t believe how much traction [saying she will lift Dáithí] has got over the last couple of months. It came about out of a fleeting comment I made two nights before the original selection night in Westmeath.
“Numerically it makes senses that I can lift him. It’s different. To my knowledge, it’s never been done before, so fingers crossed.”
When it comes to talking about numbers in sport, Leanne knows her stuff. She is working with stats, the Limerick-based sports technology company that provides performance related statistics to some of the biggest names in professional sports. A big rugby fan, she recently completed her Masters thesis on players in Munster’s academy and sub-academy on the connection between the age at which they chose their specialist position and their injury history and career trajectory.
She may be more used to competing in the sporting field, but Leanne says she is looking forward to flying the flag for Westmeath in Tralee next week. It’s been a whirlwind and enjoyable few months since she was named Westmeath Rose in the Annebrook Hotel in April, she says. She will spend two nights in Kildare with her fellow Roses in Kildare before heading down to Tralee for a week tomorrow, Wednesday
“I am really excited. I can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone. The last few months have been mad. I have thrown myself into my role as much as I could.
“There has been a lot of travelling but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. “I am based in Clare, in Newmarket on Fergus, which is known as the rose village, and it is a two-hour trek up and down to Westmeath, so I have become very well acquainted with some good podcasts this summer.”