BY CRONAN SCANLON
THERE was delight all over Donegal on Friday night after Strabane man Ryan Dolan won the right to represent Ireland at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.
A huge swathe of public support saw the 27-year-old’s entry ‘Only Love Survives’, narrowly fend off close contender ‘Crashing Down’ by Aimée Fitzpatrick during Friday night’s nail biting Late Late Show Eurovision special on RTE 1.
Teaming up with Lifford-based music producer and composer, Wez Devine, Ryan was the only songwriter performing his own composition on Friday.
Speaking to the Donegal News from Dublin on yesterday, the border town singer said he was still “buzzing” from the prospect of performing live before millions in Malmö, Sweden for the first semi-final on May 14.
“I’m really excited, I can’t wait to May. It’s definitely going to be an exciting couple of months,” he said.
Reliving the tense moments as he awaited the decision five regional juries and the outcome of a public vote, Ryan recalled his relief as he finally he named the winner of the five hopefuls in contention.
“It was really close on the night and I was really nervous up until the last vote, but it was great relief when the home votes came through,” he said.
The Tyrone man has enjoyed a remarkable singing career to date. From his first public performance four years ago, he has now amassed over 800,000 hits on YouTube, performing to huge crowds as the support acts to the likes of Jedward and Tinchy Stryder.
Friday’s Late Late Show represented another benchmark for Ryan, with his first performance on TV. He is now set to enjoy exposure across Europe over the next two months.
“There will be a lot of promotion now and trying to secure the European release of the single to try to get it going well before we get there. There will be lots of gigs and interviews, but there will be a lot rehearsal into making the show a lot bigger and better than it was on the Late Late Show,” he added.
The Eurovision omens are good for Ryan. The last time Tyrone had an entry in the Eurovision was Linda Martin in 1992. The Omagh-born singer went on to win the ‘92 song contest in Malmö of all places, with the song ‘Why Me’.
Ryan revealed that Linda has been one of the many well-wishers, along with Daniel O’Donnell and Kian Egan who have backed him for Eurovision.
“It’s a strange co-incidence, so hopefully things will go well in Malmö again,” he said.
“I met Daniel (O’Donnell) at a dinner dance last year and gave him some of my records. Daniel phoned me a few weeks later to give me some advice and support and said, if I ever needed him for anything, he’d get behind me.”
Grateful for the support he has enjoyed to date, Ryan added, “Everybody has been great, I couldn’t believe the reaction locally. I would like to say thanks a million to everybody for everything.”
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