Belfast Telegraph

Punters quids-in with Rose of Tralee winner

The Republic's leading bookmakers has denied there was anything untoward about betting patterns in this year's Rose of Tralee contest.

Paddy Power had to shell out €50,000 (£43,975) to punters who backed Queensland Rose Tara Talbot, who was odds-on favourite since Monday, the day before the winner was announced.

Ladbrokes reported its busiest Rose of Tralee ever and its best "novelty market", although it declined to reveal how much it had to pay out.

Paddy Power was accepting bets online right up until the envelope was opened in The Dome on Tuesday night and saw a surge of betting for a number of contenders, based entirely on how they had performed on stage.

Spokesperson Sharon McHugh said if she had to call it late on Tuesday night it would have been between the Queensland Rose, Wexford's Mary Kehoe and Dublin Rose Siobheal Nic Eochaigh, whose hip-hop routine made viewers sit up and take notice.

"Dublin was probably the one most people were talking about as she came in from 20/1 to 3/1 to 9/4 after her appearance on stage," she said.

"And in the space of half an hour the Wexford Rose went from 14/1 in as short as 5/2."

One lucky Carlow punter received the biggest single payout for his €850 (£750) stake on Quensland Rose Tara, whom he got at odds of 5/2 on Saturday.

He collected €2,125 (£1,900) on top of his initial stake, giving him a nice tidy total of €2,975 (£2,650).

Another shrewd punter got odds of 20/1 with Ladbrokes for his €100 (£88) bet on Tara.

"It's very obvious when you're down there in that circle and you can get a feel for who the popular Roses are.

"But let's not take away from the fact the winner was absolutely stunning," Ms McHugh added.

Having survived on just two hours sleep, new Rose Tara was up early yesterday ahead of a packed schedule on the first day of her new job.

"It's so rewarding and that's what led me to change my path from teaching to a career in communications, where I could convey that passion," she said.

"I'd also love to travel to the the Philippines but I don't know if that's possible, but I'm looking forward to working with any charity that is chosen."

News of Tara's achievement has already reached the Philippines via her mother who was immediately on the phone to relatives yesterday.

"I was telling my sister and she was very happy.

"I had explained to her what the Rose of Tralee was about," Mrs Talbot said.

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