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Tipperary footballer 'up for a laugh', charming teacher and farmer named Rose of Tralee escorts

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Tipperary footballer 'up for a laugh', charming teacher and farmer named Rose of Tralee escorts

John Crowe is one of three Rose of Tralee International Festival escorts from Tipperary

Three Tipperary men have been selected to be Rose Escorts at the Rose of Tralee International Festival, which celebrates 60 years from August 23-27. 

Tipperary town farmer John Crowe (26), Thurles transport manager Eddie Hayes (24) and Cahir teacher Michael O'Connor (23) took park in the annual boot camp along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry, after which 32 men were shortlisted to accompany the Roses at this year’s festival in Tralee.

The men, who already went through an interview process in April, had to pass several endurance tests and team-building exercises before they could graduate as fully-fledged Rose Escorts.

The men had to carry out a range of activities including a hike over Carrauntoohill, cliff diving, abseiling, cookery, swimming, kayaking, surfing, ironing and sewing in order to prove they will have the stamina to be a Rose Escort.

This year’s Rose Escort Boot Camp activities were supported by Kerry County Council, who played a major role in the transport and logistics of the event.

Looking ahead to the year’s Rose of Tralee International Festival, one of the 32 men will be selected as the Rose Escort of the Year live on RTÉ One on August 26. 

A full line-up of free family-fun entertainment is planned for the streets of Tralee with Aslan, The Hot House Flowers, Derek Ryan, three parades, two fireworks displays, an Adrenaline Stunt Show and much more. 

The Festival Dome will play host to the Rose Ball, 80s Night with Abbaesque, Autumn Winter Fashion Show and the TV Rose selections on RTÉ with Dáithí Ó Sé.

Meet the Tipperary Rose Escorts

John Crowe works with Centenary-Thurles, where he spend his days on the road with farmers and at the weekend on the family dairy farm just outside Tipperary town. "Growing up on a farm, I’ve always had a love of animals. I spent four years in UCD studying Dairy Business where I learned a lot in classes and even more in Coppers. I’ve spent six months in New Zealand where I found a love of traveling, which has led me to America and across Europe inter-railing to name a few. I’m a full-time bench warmer with Arravale Rovers junior football team and gave rowing a go in college. I’m always up for a laugh, easy to get on with and love a good challenge," John says. 

Eddie Hayes currently works for Dairygold in the role of general haulage coordinator. "I’m from a beef farming background, and in the evenings can be found doing anything that involves hardship and machinery. Farming led me to do four years in UCD studying Agricultural Science where I was fortunate enough to complete part of my work experience in South Island New Zealand on a 1,000-cow dairy farm. That experience spawned a love of travelling. I have been organising class trips to destinations in Europe for the last four years, which sees between 60 and 80 energetic Ags hitting the major cities of Europe," Eddie says. 

Eddie Hayes

Michael O'Connor is the "strong, silent type". He says: "The perfect foil for a Rose, but there's more to me than meets the eye. I'm easy-going with great communication skills. As a teacher of Engineering and Graphics, I deal with young people every day so I'm a great listener and have endless patience. Not only that but I understand the importance of attention to detail and looking good. I teach, farm, play football and hurling, and put as much effort into having fun. I'm cool in a crisis and have a deadly sense of humour. I look forward to donning my tux and dancing the nights away with my Rose 'til that pale moon rises."

Michael O'Connor