Niall's mum and dad in plea for One Direction X Factor votes
Published 11/12/2010 | 00:00
He's the Westmeath teenager bidding for global super-stardom this weekend as his boyband One Direction vie for the hugely coveted X Factor title.
But to Bobby Horan and Maura Gallagher, blue-eyed blonde Niall Horan (17) is still just their bubbly baby boy.
And the parents are calling on Irish X Factor fans to help his "dream come true" by voting for the fresh-faced group to win this year's ITV reality competition.
Bobby said: "I am so proud of him. I would love to see him win it.
"I think Irish votes could be the difference between One Direction winning and not winning the show -- it could hang on getting Mary Byrne's Irish voters on board."
Mum Maura added: "It would be the biggest dream ever for Niall to win the X Factor. They are winners for even getting into the final, but I know in their little hearts that they will be disappointed if they don't.
"Mary was on the radio the other day and she said she wants all her votes to transfer to Niall, which is absolutely lovely of her.
"Niall and the lads need everyone's votes. This is a huge thing for us and it's weird and he finds it the very same. They can't get over going out in a blacked-out car, and screaming girls and photographers everywhere."
The divorced couple -- who are on friendly terms -- will be making the nail-biting journey over to London together early tomorrow morning
"We've only heard rumours that they will be performing with Robbie Williams but Niall has to keep a certain amount of things secret so we don't ask him," said Maura.
His big brother Greg (22), who works in Spar, said: "I'm excited but nervous for him. He has inspired me but I'm too old for my dream to be a footballer. My dream now is to see him have his dream." The Herald also spent the day with Niall's teachers and close friends in his home town, which has been decorated with hundreds of posters in support of Niall and his band-mates.
Best pal Adam Keena (17) said: "Not many people from a small town like Mullingar believe that they can actually become something but Niall has actually changed everyone's perspective on that. He has inspired us all to believe that we can make something of ourselves if we try hard enough."
His principal Joe O'Meara in Colaiste Mhuire CBS, said: "He is such an exceptional lad. He has found his niche big time and he is on top of the world. He's a lovely, unassuming guy and very well mannered. When he got the X Factor he came in to ask me could he postpone his Leaving Cert and he is welcome back at any time. We'd love to have him back."
Niall's favourite teacher was Georgina Ainscough, who teaches French.
She said: "I definitely think they will win it and hopefully the Irish will get behind him this weekend. He genuinely is a lovely boy and he really deserves to do well."
And Briain Smith, of the Greville Arms Hotel is hosting a big X Factor party. "It will be a huge bash. The town is just buzzing," he said.