By CAROL BYRNE
THE competition is heating up as ten contenders for the inaugural East Clare Farmerette contest will give their best on stage performance this Saturday night in the hopes of becoming Farmerette Queen.
The event takes place on March 15 in Powers Bar, Tulla with all proceeds from the night are to be used to upgrade the Oak ward at the National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght. This is a 24 bedded ward catering for children with acute medical conditions, including respiratory, asthma, endocrinology, diabetes, neurology, cystic fibrosis and mental health issues.
The ten girls competing for the crown come from all over East Clare and include: Cassandra (Cass) McKenna from Bodyke who is studying home economics and Irish in Sligo; Aisling Callinan from Crusheen who works as a support worker for the Brothers of Charity in Ennis and who also plays football and camogie with Crusheen; Katie McInerney from Tulla who also is a camogie player with Tulla, is a sister of David McInerney the All Ireland senior and U-21 winning defender; Muirne Donnellan from Feakle who is a daughter of former Clare hurler Val Donnellan; Orla Burke from Whitegate is the daughter of local county councillor Pat Burke; Angela Lynch from Tulla is a sister of the Tulla and Clare panellist Brian Lynch; Martina Skeehan originally from Kilkishen is currently studying to become a general nurse in Ealing in West London; Clare Jones from O’Callaghan’s Mills is a teacher in Tuamgraney National School. Further contestants include Aileen Thornton from Scariff who is also a strong camogie player with Scariff /Ogonnelloe and she will face off against her team mate Ellen Collins from Ogonnelloe who is also participating in this weekend’s competition.
The event has been organised by Tulla man Matthew Corry who was behind a similar fundraising initiative, East Clare Sexiest Farmer 2012, which proved successful yielding €14,500 for The National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght.
Each of the girls will be interviewed on stage in the marquee at Powers where they will be quizzed on everything from farming knowledge to their hobbies and achievements. In addition some of the girls have put together a video of their skills on the farm, and there will be a special screening of this video showing them milking cows.
How they fare out will be determined by neutral judges who will be attending from the National Children’s Hospital and only one will be crowned East Clare Farmerette Queen.
The initiative was the brainchild of Tulla man, Matthew Corry who launched a similar fundraising event in 2012 when the East Clare Sexiest Farmer was crowned. The competition netted €14,500 in funding for The National Children’s Hospital.
Speaking about this year’s event, Mr Corry said the funds raised to date are somewhere between €10,000 and €15,000. This has been collected by the contestants themselves, either through sponsorship or through separate fundraising initiatives they have organised.
“The girls have the work done. They all got sponsorship cards, and they were all well supported. Some of the girls ran events, such as a wax and shave event, another did a welly design competition, another had a silence in the pub competition whereby anyone who spoke had to make a donation. There were plenty of quirky things like that,” he said.
Ciara O’Grady will represent the National Children’s Hospital on the judging panel and she will be joined by another representative from the hospital. The farmerette queen will not only receive the winning crown and title but will also secure a sun holiday worth €500. There will also be a raffle on the night with prizes including weekend getaways. Music will be provided by You Can Dance and all are welcome to come along.