Mum of woman who met fiancé on First Dates trying to find romance on show herself

“My daughter met a man on First Dates so why can’t I?”

Phil is going on First Dates

Eugene MastersonSunday World

The mum of a woman who met her fiancé on First Dates had a crack at finding romance on the show herself.

Carla Maria (41), who will marry Dundalk man James ‘Shez’ Sherry (41) in November after they met on the show, accompanied her mum Phil (65) to the Gibson Hotel in Dublin late last year for her own blind date.

“I’ve four grown-up children and they always would have liked me to meet somebody,” Phil tells the Sunday World.

“I’m very independent, I do everything on my own. I go on holidays on my own, but they always want me to meet somebody and I do want to share my life with someone.

“Then, when Carla did the show and suggested it to me, I said ‘absolutely not, I’m not doing it’.

“But I was talked around into doing it because I reached 65 last year and I thought ‘I have to do something memorable for reaching 65 — retirement age’.

“That’s really the reason I did it. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and, trust me, I was pushed out of my comfort zone.”

Carla and Shez will get married in November

Antrim woman Phil works for Tusla in Donegal and lives just inside the Co Derry border.

“My contract says I can retire at 65, but I haven’t retired, I continue to work. As long as you’re in good health and you’re able,” she explains.

She cut a dash in the restaurant by wearing a bright red fedora, but admits she was initially a bit nervous.

“Seeing Mateo for the first time, I just though he looked the exact same in real life as he does on screen. Alice, the waitress, was really lovely, a really nice girl,” she smiles.

Phil was paired with Galway man Stan (69).

“Somebody said he looked like Santa Claus. I didn’t think Kenny Rogers until later but that’s pretty much what he was like,” she chuckles. “You should never judge a book by its cover.”

She wasn’t bowled over by his looks though. “It wasn’t a wow moment,” Phil confirms.

Asked who her dream man would be, she exclaims: “Give me Patrick Swayze, I loved him in Dirty Dancing.”

Viewers will see some explosive moments between Phil and Stan.

“When he mentioned dogs, alarm bells went. I wanted somebody who would be spontaneous and say ‘pack your bag, we’re going away for the weekend’, you can’t do that when you’ve got a dog.

“I had a German shepherd and I know I will have a dog again,” she admits.

She wants a man in her life to share it with her.

“I love walking. I’d love to hike, but hiking on your own is not quite safe,” she says.

“With seven grandchildren I’m kept going. I love clothes, I love fashion. I’m due to go to Portugal and also Canada later this year.”

She is excited for Carla and Shez’s big day in November.

“I think I will have to wear a less casual hat for it than a fedora, even though I love them,” she laughs.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Carla so I am, and Shez. It’s just worked out so well for the pair of them.

“It’s what you would read in a storybook, it’s a novel.”

First Dates is on RTÉ2 on Thursday at 9.30pm.

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