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

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

More in this Section

Irish stars let their hair down at Oscar Wilde pre-Oscars party

Fresh Laya Health insurance hike to cost families up to €450

Cork events centre site to see more student accommodation

Boxer guilty of possessing €8k cigarettes


Breaking Stories

Man arrested following Garda chase in Dublin

Weather report: Wet and windy with the prospect of snow early next week

Sharp rise in ecstasy and cannabis use as alcohol sales increase

Medical cards for 10,000 disabled people

Lifestyle

Ask Audrey: “I want him to tie me to the bed and pretend to be Donald Trump.”

Our day, our way: Tearing up the wedding rule book

Take control of your fertility with natural family planning

Beauty trends you’ll be bursting to try this spring

More From The Irish Examiner