Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 20 November 2014

Ireland expects as Niamh goes for Eurovision glory

Niamh Kavanagh aiming to win Eurovision Song Contest
Niamh Kavanagh aiming to win Eurovision Song Contest

Songbird Niamh Kavanagh will tonight step onto the stage in the Telenor Arena in Oslo and perform in front of millions of people.

Ireland’s Eurovision hopeful stepped closer in her bid to win the contest crown for a second time after giving a dazzling performance of ‘It's For You' in the semi-final on Thursday.

Out of view from the television cameras and cheering her on from the wings of the stage that night was her husband Paul Meghaey, from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim. And the 53-year-old, who met his wife in a recording studio in Randalstown over a decade ago, will be again cheering her on tonight.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from Oslo, he said he believes Niamh — who won the contest in 1993 singing ‘In Your Eyes’ — will deliver “her best” performance tonight.

“To be honest, as far as Niamh is concerned she feels she has already won as the biggest thing was to make sure they qualified,” he said.

“We were pretty sure that would happen but you just don’t know what Eurovision can throw at you sometimes.”

“But the atmosphere should be electric tonight on stage, it is where she was born to be.

“She is a natural born singer.”

Mr Meghaey, who is also a musician, said they have been overwhelmed by the support from friends and family.

“When she got through to the final it was just fantastic. Niamh’s texts went crazy.

“She couldn’t respond to them all, but she certainly gets brilliant support everywhere she goes.”

He said a lot of time was spent choosing the song which was penned by Niall Mooney, Marten Eriksson, Lina Eriksson and Jonas Gladnikoff.

Odds for the song to win were sitting at 14/1 after she qualified for the final.

But the bookies favourite remained Azerbaijan with odds of 6/4.

Mr Megahey said the song “first surfaced” in its best form around January or February.

“It wasn’t that she was just going to pick the best song out of a bunch, she was going to pick the song that she thought that she could do justice to and do justice for her.”

The couple have lived in Carrickfergus with their two children Jack (7) and Tom (9) for 11 years.

And friends and neighbours in the town have their fingers crossed that Niamh wins.

Friend Oonagh Donnelly said: “I am over the moon that Niamh is doing so well. We will be cheering her on and hope she brings home the title.”

Mayor of Carrickfergus Patricia McKinney said: “I want to send my best wishes to Niamh.”

Jackie Ford, manager of the Joymount Arms in Carrickfergus said: “Everyone wishes her the best of luck.”

The UK entry will be sung by teenager Josh Dubovie.

Irish entrants, Dana to Dustin

Ireland has competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 43 times.

It has won on seven occasions. Dana won in 1970, Johnny Logan twice, in 1980 and 1987, Linda Martin in 1992, Niamh Kavanagh in 1993, Paul Harrington in 1994 and Eimear Quinn in 1996.

Puppet Dustin the Turkey represented Ireland (not very well) in the 2008 competition.

Niamh will be the 10th performer in tonight’s final.

She will compete against the UK's entrant Josh Dubovie (19). His song, That Sounds Good To Me, was written and produced by Pete Waterman and Mike Stock of Stock, Aiken and Waterman fame.

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