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Gilford teen only Northern Ireland rep in final of Irish Junior Eurovision

Co Armagh teen Clare Keeley has made it through to the final of the Irish Junior Eurovision which will take place this weekend.

The thirteen-year-old student, of Flynn Performing Arts (FPA), sang her version of ‘Chandelier’ by Sia during the TG4 semi-final on Sunday and impressed judges Niamh Ní Chróinín – Presenter of TG4 youth programming, Sports Presenter Aindriú de Paor and guest judge Brian Kennedy.

The year 10 student of Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry, is the only Northern Irish competitor in the final, joining two other young hopefuls for the final on Sunday October 8. Winners will be chosen by public vote.

Clare previously made it to the 2022 final, which was won by FPA student, Mayobridge singer Sophie Lennon.

She commented: “It’s a huge opportunity for me and I’m really excited. I think being involved last year has made me less nervous and helped to improve my performance on stage. Fingers crossed that viewers enjoy the song and support me!”

If she wins, Clare will represent Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Nice, France, this November.

Clare added: “Learning a new song in Irish is a challenge but also has been lots of fun! I’m doing Irish in school so that helps and the TG4 team and crew have been great support. I just hope the effort pays off on Sunday night.”

Clare’s parents, Denise and Tony Keeley, said: “We are very proud of Clare – she has developed so much since last year in every way. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself forward a second time, but we hope she will get the reward her hard work and dedication deserves.”

Clare is no stranger to the stage, as she has been dancing since she was two-and-a-half years old and started taking singing lessons at seven-years-old.

Under the tuition of Fiona Flynn at Flynn Performing Arts, Clare has completed grades in Classical Singing and Musical Theatre.

Fiona said: “I am immensely proud of Clare. She works so hard and so rightly deserves her place in the final. Representing Ireland on the global stage is an extraordinary opportunity, and Clare would be a wonderful ambassador.

“I feel so privileged to be part of her singing journey and I am excited to see what the future holds for this shining star. No matter what the outcome, Clare is a winner.”

Clare was a member of the Elite Team at Stagebox and is now under the management of Maureen V Ward who represents some of the best young upcoming talent in Ireland.

Clare also takes weekly dance classes in Ballet, Tap and Modern Jazz with Blevins Academy of Dance and Drama, Portadown in addition to piano and violin lessons in Our Lady’s Grammar School.

She performs at all local festivals and has also been involved with Newry Musical Society in their AIMS nominated production of ‘School of Rock’.

Last year Clare played the lead role in RTE’s ‘Toy Show the Musical’ and most recently played the lead in a workshop for an exciting new musical ‘The Boy with the Green Hair’, in association with the Gate Theatre, performing alongside some of Ireland’s best musical theatre talent and producers.

The final of Junior Eurovision Ireland airs on Sunday, October 8, TG4 at 8.30pm.

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