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Very proud Glór Tíre winner Aishling Rafferty dedicates award to her devoted father

Aishling Rafferty, 20, from Tipperary, said she would never have made it in the TG4 series without the support of her beloved dad John

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Aishling Rafferty

Aishling Rafferty

Aishling Rafferty

The winner of this year’s Glór Tíre country music competition has paid tribute to her devoted father for helping to make her dream come true.

Rising star Aishling Rafferty, 20, from Tipperary, said she would never have made it in the TG4 series without the support of her beloved dad John.

“Without him there would be no Aishling Rafferty music and he has been a huge support to me since day one,” said the Roscrea student.

“I know he is very proud so I just want to dedicate it to Daddy.

“We’ve a picture hanging up at home since I was a child and he always says every time he looks at it, ‘I always knew you were going to be a star.’ So he’s proven his point tonight.”

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Mike Denver and Aishling

Mike Denver and Aishling

Mike Denver and Aishling

 

The emotional young singer said she was thrilled that her father and two of her three sisters, Jenny and Leanne, were on hand to see her win in Tuesday night’s final in the new state of the art location of Cue One Studio 5 in Claregalway just outside Galway city.

“I know this means the absolute world to Daddy because music is everything in our house,” said Aishling.

“They will all be over the moon, especially Daddy - and Granny at home as well, who will be watching on television.

“Daddy was playing the guitar while I was growing up and I was always watching him picking up chords.

“But unfortunately, due to throat cancer he can’t sing any more but I’m carrying on the singing for him now.

“It’s living on through me. I’m using my throat so it’s a strange situation. But I’m just delighted to be able to do this for him and do him proud.”

Proud dad John said: “Her winning means I don’t feel like I have an illness at all.

“From day one I knew she was going to be something. I was always saying to her, ‘One day you will be a star.’

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“I’m very proud of her and pleased for her.”

Aishling had tough competition in the final: Rachel Goode, a trained opera singer from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, and Donegal man Kenny Crawford, from Lifford.

But the dark-haired beauty won the public vote with her versions of Who Left the Door to Heaven Open and You Never Can Tell.

Sunday World judge Eddie Rowley said the young woman did a terrific job.

“She and the other two finalists are fully formed stars, so well rehearsed and so professional. Each of them had different vocal talents and personalities.

“But Aishling gave a great performance and I’m delighted for her. She has three months of bookings already.

“This is a big show to come out of at the right time when country music is opening up again and the country scene has room for three more stars.”

After winning Aishling could hardly contain her excitement: “I’m absolutely over the moon, I can’t believe it.

“I’m still shaking. I just want to say a huge thankyou to everyone who voted for me and I am absolutely over the moon to be able to bring the Glór Tire crown back to Tipperary.

“I am a very proud Premier County woman tonight.

“I was nervous but as the weeks went on I got very comfortable with the cameras so I was really able to enjoy the final. I was able to relax.

“I’ve been singing all my life but since the lockdown lifted I’ve been absolutely flat out with gigs and guest spots and concerts which is great so I’m loving it.”

Aishling is a second-year student at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.

“I absolutely love it. It’s great to be surrounded by people who are like minded which is very motivating.

“No matter what happened in Glór Tire music was going to be my career, absolutely.

“I’m gigging away so to win the show is a huge bonus to me and it will bring me on leaps and bound.”

Despite the excitement she said there was going to be no wild party.

“I’m going home and will have a big cup of honey and lemon and hop into bed and be up in time for college in the morning. College is back as the number one priority.”

The singer said the support she received from her native county was “phenomenal” – and from her family.

“My three sisters and two brothers have been a huge support to me. One sister Amy is over in London so she will be home watching on TV and I wish she could be here with me but unfortunately not.

“But I’m heading over to her next month so I will be able to celebrate it with her then.

“My boyfriend Cian has also been brilliant and he loves the music. He has been giving me pep talks all week along with Daddy. He’s backed me all the way.”

The young star, who doesn’t drink, said she wouldn’t even have time to celebrate at the weekend as she was gigging Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Aishling was mentored on the show by country legend Mike Denver who also won last year’s competition with Emma Donoghue.

He said: “Aishling is a very deserving winner. For anyone starting off there is no bigger platform that Glór Tire.

“Fans sit down twice a week to watch it and you don’t have to win them over. They are there because they love country music. The show is getting bigger and better every year.

“I was hoping for two in a row so I’m delighted.”

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