It was meant to be a fun dig at her former boyfriend, golfing superstar Rory McIlroy, and his new love, world tennis No 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
But Holly Sweeney comes in for some serious criticism during her appearance on TV3’s Celebrity Come Dine With Me on Monday night when she hosts a ‘Golf Pros and Tennis Hoes’ dinner.
Though the 21-year-old engineering student from Holywood, Co Down, had pulled out all the stops, dressing up as a tennis player, the theme hits a sour note with one of her fellow diners telling her to stop “harping on” about the golfer.
Speaking about the dress code for her dinner, Holly, who has taken a year out from university to concentrate on her showbiz career, tells viewers: “My theme is a tennis and golf theme. I chose it tonight because I used to go out with Rory. The tennis thing is obviously a little joke because Caroline is world No 1.”
The tongue-in-cheek narrator of the show then chips in: “So you get dumped by then World No 2 golfer who is now with the World No 1 tennis player and you decide to give your dinner a golf and tennis dress code? It’s a brave choice.”
But magazine owner, Michael O’Doherty, whose titles include VIP, clearly takes a different view.
“For a woman who is trying to move on from a previous relationship and rebuild her life and establish her own personality, she should stop harping on about golf to be perfectly honest,” he says.
And yesterday, feisty Holly took to Twitter to defend herself after one man tweeted that it was “embarrassing seeing you cash in on your relationship with McIlroy in every paper. Time to move on kid!”
Holly responded: “Not a penny, kid. It’s the papers that are still interested, not me.”
It was just days after Rory ended his relationship with Holly that he was spotted getting close to Wozniacki.
The pair had first met when they seated together to watch the David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko boxing match in Germany on July 2. Now Rory (22) and Caroline (21) are sport’s newest and wealthiest glamour couple, boasting combined 2011 earnings from winnings and endorsements of around £25m.
And ‘Wozzilroy’ — McIlroy’s nickname for the couple — has certainly been a significant catalyst for change.
His pairing with one of the best-conditioned athletes on the tennis circuit has certainly sharpened up his fitness.
Alas, all that was to no avail at the weekend as Rory saw his dream of conquering the tournament almost vanish in just a few holes.
Wozniacki reportedly said she wished she was by his side after his dismal performance, but could only look on from afar — some 4,500 miles away in Copenhagen, where she was preparing for a tennis tournament.