Buncrana’s Leah is Donegal’s only Mary

Finalists in the County Final of the Mary from Dungloe in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny on Friday night were front from left, Leah O'Donnell, Letterkenny, Kim McLaughlin, Buncrana, Michaelle McCrossan, Letterkenny, current Mary from Dungloe Debbie Rodgers, Rachael McGee, Carrigans and Roisin Carlin, Burnfoot. At back are Ann Murray, Gweedore, Orla Bradley, Buncrana, Ann Maura Doherty Letterkenny, Leah Waldron, Buncrana, Lise Crampsie, Drumkeen and Sarah Barr, Burnfoot. 2905cg203
Finalists in the County Final of the Mary from Dungloe in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny on Friday night were front from left, Leah O'Donnell, Letterkenny, Kim McLaughlin, Buncrana, Michaelle McCrossan, Letterkenny, current Mary from Dungloe Debbie Rodgers, Rachael McGee, Carrigans and Roisin Carlin, Burnfoot. At back are Ann Murray, Gweedore, Orla Bradley, Buncrana, Ann Maura Doherty Letterkenny, Leah Waldron, Buncrana, Lise Crampsie, Drumkeen and Sarah Barr, Burnfoot. 2905cg203

She did her own hair and make-up and borrowed her dress, but beautiful Buncrana girl Leah Waldron impressed judges enough to be named Donegal’s Mary from Dungloe.

Speaking to the ‘Journal; yesterday, Leah said she was “still in shock” from Friday night’s announcement that she will be representing Donegal in the prestigious competition.

One of 11 finalists, Leah gathered at the County Final of the Mary from Dungloe in the Clanree Hotel on Friday night where she was first grilled by three judges before taking to the stage to do her talent.

“I was going to sing,” said Leah “But then I decided to recite a poem I wrote when I was 12-year-old that was published in book for sixth class pupils. I had to go on stage first out of all the girls so I thought they would forget about me but thankfully it stood by me in the end.

“To be honest I wasn’t expecting it at all, it’s still sinking in. Last year there was three ‘Marys’ from Donegal, Dungloe, Gealtacht and an Inishowen Mary, but this year there is just the one so there was definitely more pressure.”

A beauty therapist in the town, Leah has her family, friends and boss to thank for pushing her into the Mary competition.

“I wasn’t going to enter, but I only decided a couple of weeks ago so it was all last minute, I did my own hair and make up and borrowed the dress from a friend the day before the county final.

“Last year I put myself forward for the Donegal Rose of Tralee but I didn’t get it. My mum said to me maybe it wasn’t meant to be and maybe Mary from Dungloe was the competition for me.”

After Friday night’s success the Buncrana girl has been overwhelmed by the amount of support she has received.

“My phone and facebook page are filled with comments of support and I really appreciate it.

“I think people in Buncrana are delighted to see it come to the town as well.

“Now I’m just looking forward to the festival in Dungloe on the last week in July, I’m sure it’ll be a great experience for me.

“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m determined to be the best ambassador for Donegal I can be and hopefully I can bring it back to the county for the first time in over 20 years.”