A thoroughly modern Miss Ireland

THERE was a time when the roll-call for Miss Ireland was a bit like the GAA Championships — Miss Dublin, Miss Cork, Miss Donegal etc.

No more.

Now we have more exotic creatures such as Miss Mantra, Miss Home Nightclub and Miss Karma Westmeath.

They are among the 30 beauties who will battle it out next Saturday to take over the coveted title from reigning Miss Ireland, Emma Waldron.

Two contestants — from each end of the country — already have a leg-up, so to speak. Representing Cork, Brianna Dougher, a 22-year-old postgraduate student, has years of modelling experience behind her in her native California.

She also has the benefit of tips from her mother who came second in the 1980 Miss Ireland final.

Brianna is studying for an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at University College Cork and in her spare time plays classical guitar.

She is signed to Lockdown Model Agency, which has on its books the former Miss Cork Etaoin Ó hÁilpín, sister of Cork footballer Seán Óg.

Further north, 19-year-old Roisín McConway, from Creeslough, Co Donegal, has just driven off with the title Miss SEAT Ireland 2011, after winning the contest through online public voting on SEAT Ireland’s Facebook page.

Like Brianna Dougher, she is a university student but she is also a part-time butcher and, just to prove her winning ways, she gets to be an ambassador for car manufacturer and the use of a brand new Leon TSI for six months, once she passes her driving test.

Roisín plans to become a secondary school teacher while also working as a part time butcher in Lafferty’s Supermarket on Creeslough’s main street.

Paddy Power Bookmakers have made the granddaughter of Charles Haughey’s former mistress Terry Keane their hot favourite to be crowned

Miss University, Holly Carpenter is head and shoulders above the competition, according to Paddy Power, who make the 19-year-old student their 7/4 favourite.

Others in the running include Niamh Cullen representing the Sunday World at 5/1, Miss Louth Yasmin Amhamouda at 6/1 and Miss Dublin North Rebecca Maher at 9/1.

Miss Ireland 2011 will be crowned at a ceremony hosted by TV3’s Ireland AM presenter Sinéad Desmond and Q102’s Ray Shah in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

The winner will go on to represent Ireland at the Miss World final in London on November 8.

|* For more information, go online to www.missirelandpageant.ie

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