Louth native Claire Lynch will be Melbourne’s first entrant to the Rose of Tralee in a decade.
Ms Lynch, 25, is hoping to do her adopted Australian home proud when she flies to Ireland on May 28 to participate in the regional finals in Portlaoise.
And the community occupational therapist will have an unusual talent when she takes to the stage, as she is planning to demonstrate her Gaelic football skills for the judges.
She admits she is extremely excited about the prospect of seeing her family and says she will have plenty of support from home when the regionals kick off on June 1.
The ambitious Rose is determined to make it through to the Rose of Tralee finals in August and explained how she would love another opportunity to go home to Ireland.
“I didn’t expect it at all, it’s a big shock. I’m delighted,” she said of her win.
“To go home twice would be amazing, I’m not going to complain if I have to go back in August.
“I’m determined to get to Tralee so I see it as another practice run and another chance to get dressed up before the finals.
“I’m from a small village in Louth called Stabannan and I’ve had so many people wishing me luck and promising to come to the regional finals in Portlaoise. Some of my friends from Melbourne have even said they’ll come over to Ireland for the Rose of Tralee finals if I make it,” she continued.
Claire will join fellow Roses from America, Europe, Britain and 29 Irish Centres, with 22 Roses going forward to the International Festival in Tralee.
In addition to preparing for her Rose duties, Claire is also studying part time in the evenings for a doctorate in Community Occupational Therapy.
She became a permanent resident in Australia in July and has been in Melbourne since 2008.
Claire explained she has met her partner since arriving in Australia.
She admits she is excited nonetheless, to meet Irish TV presenter Dáithí Ó Sé.
“I came all the way to Australia to meet a man from Ireland,” she jokes. “He’s from Dublin. He’s delighted for me as well.
“I’m very excited about meeting Dáithí. I didn’t realise he does the regionals in Port Laoise too,” she added.
Melbourne’s last entrant was Mairéad Dundas in 2001.
The centre will be able to apply for automatic entry to the finals – taking away the need for a qualifier – after participating in the event for three years.