New Louth Rose AnnMarie Duffy (right) pictured with last year's winner Aoife Heffron
Dundalk woman AnnMarie Duffy has been named as the 2018 Louth Rose - meaning she will go forward to represent the county as the Rose of Tralee later in the year.
The 26-year-old succeeds Dundalk Democrat columnist Aoife Heffron in the role.
AnnMarie, who is a qualified speech and language therapist working in Drogheda, emerged victorious at the Louth Rose competition at the Four Seassons Hotel in Carlingford on Saturday.
The Glenwood Girl saw off competition from 11 other Rose hopefuls to claim the crown. AnnMarie's parents Anne and Richard were present on the night to support their daughter, while her boyfriend Rory Mulholland was also there to see her claim the prize.
The winner was sponsored by Premier Chiropractic on Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk.
Speaking to the Democrat on Monday, AnnMarie was absolutely thrilled. "I wasn't expecting it at all, but I'm delighted. I'm over the moon.
"It was always something I enjoyed watching. I'd watch it every year and I'd have an interest in it. When I was younger, I had an idea that maybe I might do it when I was older," she said.
Remarkably, she only decided to take part two weeks ago. "It's all been very last minute. I'm delighted I went through with it all. It was actually the last year I would have been eligible, based on my age. It was my last shot so I said i'd give it a go.
"It was still open for applicants so I just ran with it. It's now or never. I really enjoy meeting new people and doing new things. This is the right time," she continued.
"I had great support from family and friends and work colleagues. We had a great night."
AnnMarie will now go forward to the Rose of Tralee International Festival in August. The new Louth Rose says she's still trying to take in all of the information over what the next months will entail - but whatever is around the corner, she can barely contain her excitement.
"I will be representing Louth so I hope I do everyone in the Wee County proud. I'm just looking forward to meeting the girls, having the experience and all of the events over the next few months. It doesn't stop with Tralee - I'll be Louth Rose for the next 12 months."
Her win means that once again the Louse Rose crown stays in North Louth. Dundalk woman Aoife Heffron won last year while the 2016, 2015 and 2014 all hailed from North Louth too.