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GAA hero Oisin is pipped at the final post by MasterChef Niamh

By Cate McCurry

Ex-GAA star Oisin McConville has been pipped to the post by Carrickfergus singer Naimh Kavanagh in the final of MasterChef Ireland.

Eurovision star Niamh took home the trophy last night after beating Oisin and actor Simon Delaney.

The singer, who was born in Dublin, lives in Carrickfergus with her musician husband, Paul Megahey, and two teenage sons, Jack and Tom.

She impressed judges Daniel Clifford and Robin Gill, who proclaimed her raviolo al uovo with spinach and ricotta the "dish of the series".

The 49-year-old was shocked as the pair called out her name as the winner of this year's MasterChef Ireland.

Niamh shot to fame after singing the winning entry, In Your Eyes, at the Eurovision hosted by Ireland in 1993.

Oisin, a self-confessed cooking novice, admitted he could not even boil an egg before joining the competition.

The former Armagh footballer's culinary skills have since transformed.

Despite missing out on the crown, the Crossmaglen man said he was leaving the competition as a man who could whip up a Michelin star-inspired meal in mere minutes.

While he is best known for his skills on the pitch, the 41-year-old impressed the judges on the hit celebrity TV programme with his "absolutely perfect" John Dory, which left the professional chefs in awe.

Only months ago, the dad-of-two had mastered little more than beans on toast, but for the final, he rustled up a pan-fried John Dory for starters, lamb rump for the main course and finished off with a tonka creme caramel with lemon balm curd and raspberries.

McConville, an All-Ireland winner with Armagh in 2002, sailed through most of the final, but stumbled at the end after losing a battle with some caramel for his final course.

Oisin, who is an addiction counsellor and media pundit, said it was a "massive achievement" to reach the final.

He added: "I literally never did a thing in the kitchen and wouldn't do anything. Beans and toast was the limit for me.

"I have been absolutely spoiled rotten my whole life with cooking. My mother really spoiled me. When I got married my wife said, 'Don't expect the same to happen with me', but that's exactly what did happened."

Oisin is married to Darina and they have two sons, four-year-old Ryan and Conall, who is aged two.

He admitted he joined the competition with the aim of learning how to cook and "fend" for himself.

Oisin said: "I thought this could be good for me, but I didn't think I would enjoy it.

"I actually loved it. I think sometimes we tend to put ourselves in a box and say we can't do that, especially when you get to my age. But if you really give it a go then you can do it.

"I don't fear the kitchen, ingredients or the terminology anymore.

"I have learned every single day from everything I do."

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