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Love me tender New First Dates barman Neil says contestant Hughie Maughan 'not my type'

"I would be more into straight acting if you will, easy going"

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Neil is thrilled to be part of the First Dates gang

Neil is thrilled to be part of the First Dates gang

Neil is thrilled to be part of the First Dates gang

New First Dates bartender Neil Kenna reveals how he first went on the show as a dater to find the man of his dreams.

And the likeable Laois man admits he would not fancy the most famous gay who's appeared on the dating series - Hughie Maughan.

"He's very funny but no, definitely not, he's not my type at all," Neil admits. " I would be more into straight acting if you will, easy going.

"I was married for a while for five years, to a man."

Neil (36) hails from Durrow and has been living in Rathmines in Dublin for a decade. He worked in the Merrion Hotel, Luna and Chapter One before his current gig as restaurant manager in The Old Spot on Bath Avenue in the capital.

He originally applied to be a barman on the first series of the show but could not get time off work and then applied last year to find love instead.

"I was originally going on as a dater before I got hired as bartender and then somebody asked me to make a cocktail. Then it ended up I was taken off as a dater and ended up a bartender, for this season. I had a date lined up and all," he recalls.

"I never got to the meet the date. It's OK. I did much better out of it. I'm definitely sure the date would be over by now.

"I'm single and I'm always mingling, let's just say that!"

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Rosie is looking for love

Rosie is looking for love

Rosie is looking for love

Neil replaced popular Canadian Ethan Miles on the show. It's unclear where Ethan has gone, but he once revealed to the Sunday World how as a Jewish man he once lived in Israel and served with the Israeli army.

"They have asked me to come on for the next year," confirms Neil.

"I've always been in the hospitality business my entire life, since I was 16, although I'm primarily in the restaurant side of things I'm a trained bartender and I would know the classic cocktails. Any of the fancy ones with all the smoke no, just the classics. The word for cocktail maker is a mixologist, which is a word I hate."

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He has met his share of famous people in his job.

"I would probably say Florence Welch has been my favourite, but that was because I wanted to meet her as well. It was about four or five years ago and I had seen her in Belfast before," he recalls.

On the show Neil has met one or two contestants he'd rather not meet again.

"There has been one or two you would go 'wow, OK'," he reflects. " Because I get to meet the first one and then when the second one comes in you go 'oh'. Some of them come out with some crazy stuff. It makes good TV, obviously.

"There been times where I probably shouldn't have given the first shot, if that makes sense. There is a lot of pressure as well when you're put in front of camera, and people react different as well. I'm sure some come in jarred anyway.

"Rosie (a fitness instructor from Laois) was my favourite contestant. She came in having the craic and banter and that's how you probably should go in on a date anyways, to have fun and see where it goes."

Waiter Pete Ungless announced this week he has got engaged.

"That was lovely, he got engaged. The wedding's something to look forward to, he is very charming," smiles Neil.

He is also a fan of waitress Alice Marr.

"She is just a sweetheart. So nice. So easygoing and made me feel at ease in the first couple of hours as well, a beautiful girl," he reflects.

Of maitre d' Mateo Saina, he says: "He is so lovely, he is so nice, very genuine and easy going and knows how to have the craic with people as well and make them feel at ease. He is definitely a lady's man," he beams.

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