Fair City's Neilí Conroy says Sharon and Carol won’t form ‘throuple’ with Con Rafferty
“The affair is good — but I can’t see them in a throuple”
For almost her whole adult life, Fair City’s Sharon Collins was used to sharing Valentine’s Day with her husband Anto, but after their recent split the feisty hairdresser is lost and lonely.
Viewers of the hit RTÉ soap were astounded on Christmas Day when, out of the blue, Sharon bedded developer Con Rafferty, who is in a relationship with Sharon’s best friend, no-nonsense Carol Foley.
When Carol discovered the couple’s afternoon of passion, she naturally hit the roof, but soon forgave and forgot after Sharon persuaded her it was a one-off and that she could have Con to herself.
But temptation got the better of both Sharon and the character played by Liam Carney, and their fling has developed into a full-blown affair. Dolores even caught Sharon in a state of undress with the rugged builder, while Mairead is becoming more and more suspicious of their antics.
“Ever since Christmas Day he didn’t know who to choose at all,” Neilí Conroy, who plays Sharon, tells Magazine+. “Then I said, ‘Well, you’ll have to choose me or her or whatever’. Then he came back and he chose Carol basically. But then he’s still looking at Sharon. He’s a bit of a divil.”
Pointing out Sharon’s obvious lack of loyalty to Carol (Aisling O’Neill), she adds: “There’s this big idea that Carol and Sharon are big huge amazing friends, but they’re not really. They know each other by association, like Carol has always been very helpful to Anto and everything.”
Full of guilt, Con — otherwise known as Rafferty on the show — was about to spill all to Carol when Nora suddenly took ill and went into a coma.
“So, myself and Rafferty were staying away from each other,” continues Neilí. “We were nearly caught in the back room by Dolores. Sharon was in a state of undress and gave the excuse she had a hot flush.
“Sharon was paranoid too, thinking that Máiread spotted them, and wires are crossed. It will be cat and mouse for a while; I don’t know if he’ll end up with one of them or neither of them.”
Neilí laughs when teasingly asked if Carol and Sharon could together share the same man and take part in the latest phenomenon du jour, a throuple.
“I don’t think so, I don’t think that will happen,” she jokes. “I don’t think Carol or Sharon would be the type to do that or be into that.
“Robbie was Carol’s big love, and for Sharon I think it’s a reawakening because she had only ever been with Anto. So Rafferty is the first person she has been with since, ever.”
Neilí is now in Fair City five years and loves her job and the reaction she gets.
“I get spotted a lot, but I wonder now will people start hating Sharon with this storyline. We’ll see,” she smiles. “It’s great to be in one of these storylines, doing the affair and all. I’ve never done that before.
“Fans would say ‘Don’t go back with Anto’, or ‘Poor Anto’, or ‘When are you and Rafferty going to get together?’ They are just delighted with it. People love Fair City. I know nobody likes to admit it but the people that watch it, love it.”
Neilí lives in Kilbarrack, north Dublin, with her partner of nearly 20 years, Ger, and admits she enjoyed lockdown.
“It was the first time I ever got to be still and kind of think, because you know the way you’re always rushing and trying to get ahead of yourself, especially when you have kids. And I have been like that since I was 20, always trying to think of the next thing, making sure everything was OK.
“But it was the first time I had nothing to do and just reflected a bit. I enjoyed that. I didn’t have that big fear or anxiety that a lot of people had, I didn’t get that, thank God. I was out volunteering with Inner City Helping Homeless.
“It was really bizarre being out, as I was helping to give out food from a mobile van, and everywhere was shut down,” she recalls.
“It was like one of those zombie films where everything was desolate. It was just unbelievable. I live near the sea and do a bit of swimming there also.”
A daughter of famed actor Brendan Conroy, Neilí has been acting since her teens and cut her teeth in productions based on Roddy Doyle stories, such as TV mini- series Family and movie The Van.
In The Van she played an 18-year-old single mother, and fiction almost mirrored reality as when she was aged 20, Neilí gave birth to the first of two lovely daughters, Ghaliah.
“When you’re so young, it’s a struggle,” she reflects. “It’s great and all, but it is hard to survive with kids anyway, and when you’re young it makes everything a bit harder, doesn’t it?”
Ghaliah is now aged 26 and is an actress and dancer, while her younger daughter Juno (15) is still at school.
“I love going to see films, I love going to the theatre,” she replies, when asked what she likes to do in her spare time. “But when you’re doing this job on a hectic schedule like for this storyline, you don’t really have any life.
“I know the hours are great as we have free weekends, but you kind of need to catch up with yourself.”
She hopes things will work out for Sharon. “I hope she finds happiness,” Neilí says of her character. “Everyone says, ‘Carol is going to kill you’. I’m like, ‘I’ll take on Carol!’”
Even if that leads to a massive cat fight?
“I don’t really like women fighting over men. You have to have it in soaps, because everyone loves all that and in a soap, you get away with everything!”
PHOTOGRAPHY:ROB CONDRON FASHION: @TONICDUNBOYNE
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