In recent years Dundalk has produced a wide range of stars in sport, music and many other fields but now local girl Claire McKinley could be set to be added to that listed as a TV presenter.
The Laurel Grove woman has been involved in television since graduating from Liverpool Hope University in 2008, working on a wide range of shows including Coronation Street and Jeremy Kyle, but on Thursday she made her debut as a presenter.
Claire was chosen to host Liverpool FC TV’s countdown of the top 10 Irish players to have played for the club to coincide with St Patrick’s Day and interviewed Anfield and Ireland legend John Aldridge as part of the programme.
It was her first taste of being in front of the camera rather than behind it in the production side of things but having received widespread praise for her presenting debut, Claire insists it’s something she’d like to do more of.
“I was really shocked when I was asked to do the show,” she said. “I’ve worked in TV since I graduated in 2008 but I’ve always been behind the camera. I just got talking then one day to a guy called Paul who is the head of content for Liverpool FC TV and he said they were looking to do an Irish special for St Patrick’s Day and he asked me would I present it.
“It was something very different than I’ve been used to but I said I’d take a chance and give it a go and I think it went reasonably well.”
Claire, who profiled Dundalk man Stephen Staunton as part of the countdown, got on so well in fact that there is likely to be more presenting work coming down the line for her on the Anfield outfit’s in-house station.
“There’s potentially more work coming up for me out and about talking to fans,” she said.
“I’m still contracted to ITV though with Coronation Street so I’ll be kept busy either way.
“Presenting is less stressful though because when you’re behind the scenes you’re in charge of everything but when you’re in front of the camera you just need to know your script.
“I would like to get more presenting work though. I’m a huge rugby fan and I’d love to get into that but I’d go anywhere that the work is.”
Claire, who has worked on Jeremy Kyle and for the BBC’s factual drama department in the past, has worked behind the scenes on Coronation Street in her present base of Manchester since last January while she will also start working on the Hollyoaks Music Show again for E4 next month.
Despite being largely based in the UK, Claire flies home most weekends and said she would consider coming back here to work.
“I’m very ambitious,” she said.
“I love working in television and I really enjoyed the buzz of presenting so hopefully this is just the start of more to come for me.
“I’m delighted that the guys at Liverpool TV said they loved it and they say there’ll definitely be more work for me at the channel, which is great because I support Liverpool.”
Claire’s presenting debut can be viewed on the Liverpool FC TV website at www.liverpoolfc.tv