Romance blossomed thanks to a broken leg and mechanical bull

The first ever televised Rose of Tralee engagement took place last night — and typical of the festival’s bizarre style, the happy couple have a broken leg and mechanical bull to thank for it.

New Orleans Rose Molly Molloy Gambel’s college sweetheart, Kyle Catlett, popped the question during the first of two shows to decide who is named the competition’s 2013 winner.

In a move that was part brave, part crazy, the 23-year-old stepped out in front of a television audience of more than 500,000 people and thousands more in the festival’s dome to ask his girlfriend of 18 months for her hand in marriage.

After a momentary reaction of “no, no, no!” that caused more than a few RTÉ hearts backstage to skip a beat — and led the Mardi Gras clown-dressed Dáithí Ó Sé to fear the risk of car-crash TV — the University of Alabama graduate’s very own Mary O’Connor eventually said “yes”.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner moments later, the still-shocked bride-to-be said the initial delay was because of her complete surprise at the question. “The tears were flowing, I had no idea whatsoever,” she declared.

The proposal, the first engagement ever to take place during a Rose of Tralee broadcast, follows the 1993 engagement of another New Orleans Rose whose boyfriend popped the question behind the scenes.

However, while the latest good news is likely to go down as one of the most memorable scenes in the festival’s history, this year’s couple have a less than romantic first date to thank for helping it to happen.

After breaking his leg riding a mechanical bull in early 2012, Kyle called Molly — whom he had met just days earlier — asking if she could bring him to the nearest hospital emergency department.

A first date like that almost demands an over-the-top gesture like last night.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Related Articles

More in this Section

Teachers on strike: Education system risks total shutdown, warns TDs

Irish academic identifies new organ in our guts

Coalition likely to reject motion to take in Calais migrants

Hole in ozone layer ‘not caused by cans of hairspray’, claims Danny Healy-Rae

Breaking Stories

Pornography contributing to sexual violence: Rape Crisis Centre

Belfast: Judge to rule on first court challenge to Brexit

Garda officers in second ever work-to-rule today

Parents cannot afford to replace van used to bring son to hospital


Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years

Here’s horror ... the best scary movies to watch this Halloween

Why jazz star Robert Glasper felt compelled to address the issue of police shootings in the US

Your guide to the best Samhain- themed events this Halloween

More From The Irish Examiner