Rose hoping to bloom in her ancestral home

Irish luck: The Sydney Rose wants to hold the international Rose title. Picture: Lisa McMahon
Irish luck: The Sydney Rose wants to hold the international Rose title. Picture: Lisa McMahon
Rosy future: Sophia Fitzgerald with Damien Leith (left) and AFL star Tadhg Kennelly on the night of her win.

Rosy future: Sophia Fitzgerald with Damien Leith (left) and AFL star Tadhg Kennelly on the night of her win.

THE words of the Irish song go "she was lovely and fair" and they are the words training co-ordinator Sophia Fitzgerald, 25, of Peakhurst, hopes to hear on stage in Ireland, her ancestral home.

The song is the Rose of Tralee and Ms Fitzgerald has been selected to represent Sydney in August at the Rose of Tralee Festival in Ireland where a focus is to find a woman of intelligence and compassion.

There is no parade of women in swimsuits in the Rose competition with the criteria for entry saying entrants were "judged not on looks alone".

"The Rose of Tralee contest is not a pageant," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"It celebrates the Rose entrant's personal and professional achievements and is about a person's Irish heritage.

"It's about being an ambassador."

The ability to be able to sing was an added bonus for Sophia.

A holder of a martial arts brown belt with a black chip she is in training for a black belt next year.

But it was her singing talent that she displayed when she was recently selected to hold the Sydney title.

Their were 450 people in the audience at Dockside, Darling Harbour when she strummed her guitar and sang Whiskey In The Jar to win.

The festival is held in County Kerry where Ms Fitzgerald's grandfather was born.

One of the people cheering her on at the Sydney selection gathering was an AFL star from County Kerry, Tadhg Kennelly.

As she grew up, Ms Fitzgerald learned Irish dancing at Beverly Hills and was a volunteer on the St Patrick's Day committee which stages the annual parade in Sydney for which her father, Tim Fitzgerald, was the master of ceremonies.

"The prize is a year as an ambassador doing charity work and visiting places where other Roses have come from," she said.