Ireland makes Eurovision final


Ireland’s Niamh Kavanagh has qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo on Saturday night.

Kavanagh’s song, It’s for You, is a classic Irish ballad, written by Niall Mooney, Mårten Eriksson, Lina Erikkson, and Jonas Gladnikoff.

Tensions in Irish circles were running high in advance of tonight’s semi-final as not only was Ireland competing in the more competitive of the two qualifying heats this year but singer Niamh Kavanagh’s voice appeared to be suffering from some strain.

At last night’s dress rehearsal, she was only able to reach the final note of her song briefly.

Expert juries, whose vote counts for 50 per cent of the total result, vote on this dress rehearsal rather than the live semi-final performance.

However, tonight the public vote, which makes up the other half of the overall result, backed the singer.

Kavanagh has enormous support among the over 2,000 fans and journalists attending the contest in Oslo. She is the only former winner in this year’s contest (having won in 1993 with In Your Eyes) and has been a popular presence at pre-contest concerts and parties.

In the past week, Kavanagh has consistently featured in bookmakers’ predictions of top 10 finishers overall in this year’s contest, reaching as high as sixth on some lists.

The other nine countries who qualified tonight were; Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Romania, Armenia, Denmark.

Earlier this week two countries at the centre of the world’s worst recent news stories, Greece and Iceland, both qualified for Saturday’s final.

Acts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia, Portugal, Belarus, Belgium, Albania and Serbia also qualified on Tuesday in what was considered the weaker of this year’s two semi-finals.

While Ireland has won Eurovision more times - seven - than any other country, Irish acts have struggled in recent years.

The best finish in the past decade was in 2006, when Brian Kennedy came 10th, while in the past two years Ireland has failed to qualify for the final.