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Two's company First Dates twin Martina O'Meara returns to the show for a second shot at love

Admirable Martina is one of tens of thousands of healthcare workers who've been fighting on the frontline against Covid.

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Martina O’Meara returned to First Dates to meet up with Mark

Martina O’Meara returned to First Dates to meet up with Mark

Martina O’Meara returned to First Dates to meet up with Mark

If anyone deserves a little bit of happiness on First Dates it's marvellous Martina O'Meara.

The plucky Limerick woman failed to find love on last year's series when she made history by going on a double date with her twin.

And this time around mum-of-one Martina has left her sister Mary to find the man of her dreams, which would be a welcome distraction from her job as a hospital radiographer.

Admirable Martina is one of tens of thousands of healthcare workers who've been fighting on the frontline against Covid.

"It was very scary at the beginning, because you didn't know whether I'd be bringing it home to my parents or to my daughter or should we isolate all together in a hotel, it was scary," admits Martina (46), recalling the early part of last year.

"Then there were the healthcare workers dying in Italy and you'd think you were putting your life on the line."

Martina has now got used to Covid scenarios, as well as dealing with regular medical issues.

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Martina O’Meara

Martina O’Meara

Martina O’Meara

"Where I work I would have to deal with a lot of cancer patients," she explains. "Then as well as doing A&E we would also be doing a lot of work with Covid patients, and also having to deal with them in ICU."

"One of my parents' neighbours, he died, he got it over Christmas. A fit man, 71, and I X-rayed him when he came in and he was dead a month later - without any underlying condition.

"There were a few patients up in ICU who didn't make it, then there were a few who we thought were on their last legs and then they had a complete turnaround and were OK.

"So we have seen every side of it," she says.

Martina's date last year with Mullingar stonemason David didn't work out so she decided to give First Dates another go.

"With the lockdown everything was Groundhog Day. So, I just mentioned it in work and I decided to do it," she confesses.

"It's hard to meet people the way things are and the likes of Tinder is not for me. Mary has done all that sort of stuff and she has met a few weird people. I love other people's romantic dramas, I just don't want my own.

"I'd rather be private with who I meet and if someone from work saw you on it, I just wouldn't like any of that.

"There's me going on the telly, I know, but I just wouldn't like everyone to know my business."

The sisters have different tastes.

"Mary definitely goes for the rocker look, long hair, tattoos, motorbike sort of a guy," she observes. "Sometimes I'm into a nerdy guy, or sometimes a guy with a bit of a swagger. I went up for a bit of fun, whereas Mary was going up to, hopefully, meet someone."

This time around Martina is matched with Kildare lad Mark.

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Mark, from Kildare

Mark, from Kildare

Mark, from Kildare

"He was a lot quieter than David was," she chuckles. "The First Date last year I went on was at midday so it was early and I didn't have a drink.

"But this time it was about 8 o'clock in the evening so I had a few drinks and had no fear.

"If I did meet somebody they'd have to knock my socks off.

Humour

"Looks-wise - yeah definitely he's my type. He's from Kildare, my mother is from Kildare, so I like that Midlandsy sort of humour. It was promising."

Filming First Dates was "light relief" compared to her hospital work.

"The last time we were on it was before Covid happened, so we went to the pub and were on the big screen and we had a bit of a party.

"We were hoping for the same again, but of course we couldn't," she notes.

Martina's daughter is aged 22 but she is ruling out going on the show a third time, even with her offspring.

"I've overstayed my 15 minutes, so I think I'm OK now," she laughs "It was good to do it as I was always the shyer twin, so I think I would say yes to more things now."

She loves going to gigs and would like someone to share her love of music, while she's also a fan of hurling and as her dad is from Tipperary would be keen to date a Tipp fan.

Her dream man is Morten Harket, the 61-year-old singer of A-ha, famous in the 1980s for hits such as Take On Me and The Sun Always Shines On TV.

"He's gorgeous," she raves. "We were at one of his concerts before the lockdown. I know he's 61, but I still would!"

• First Dates RTÉ2, Thursday, at 9.30pm

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