The Cork Rose Aoife Murphy had such a fear of flying that she forbade her boyfriend from taking to the skies after receiving a flying voucher last Christmas. Imagine her surprise when she learnt that she and her 10 Rose contestants in the recent Cork final were about to be whisked up in a squadron of 5 four seater aeroplanes and flown over Cork city and out around the harbour.
The Rose mystery tour began on Saturday morning with a whistle stop tour of Cork International Airport, before heading down to Atlantic Flight Training Academy where the staff pulled out all stops to get 10 enthusiastic Roses, two escorts and a couple of committee members up in the air simultaneously.
The girls had only being told minutes before arriving that they were about to take to the skies, but Cork Rose Aoife handled the situation like a pro. Laughing and joking with the girls, the story came out how she stopped her boyfriend, John from Roscommon, from using his much coveted flying voucher gift last Christmas. “I couldn’t let him go”, she said, “and look at me now, about to take off in a plane smaller that Aer Arran!”
Aoife happily posed for photos with the pilots from AFTA, delighting two of the Academy’s cadet pilots from Air Astana in Kazakhstan, who had just finished their routine flying lessons for the weekend. With grins of delight they happily joined in the group photos.
Dressed in hi viz jackets and headphones, the excited Roses made a dash for the awaiting planes, before taxiing off down the runway, and minutes later they were all airborne. A spokesman from AFTA said, “The weather conditions weren’t exactly smooth, we had divvied out the sick bags just in case, as with the winds we had today, you would certainly be buffeted about a bit”, “we were delighted to see them alight and everyone one of them smiling and buzzing with excitement, I think we could have a few potential pilots out of it” he laughed.
The next stop for the Cork roses on their mystery tour, which was partly a fundraiser for Charleville hurler Dessie Fitzgerald to help fund an operation for the spinal cord injury that he suffered four years ago, was a boat trip in Kinsale before heading off to watch the match.