independent

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Niamh just loses out on 'The Apprentice'

CROSSABEG WOMAN FINISHES AS RUNNER-UP

ANNE MARIE O'CONNOR

BLONDE business bombshell, Niamh McDonald from Crossabeg, crashed out of the finals of TV3's ' The Apprentice' on Monday night when she became the last person fired by Bill Cullen in this year's hit reality show.

The daughter of Angela and Albert McDonald from Crossabeg, 23-year-old Niamh was beaten to the title by English-born Michelle Massey. To reach the final, the girls had both seen off stiff competition from 14 other eager competitors in a number of tough weekly challenges. Niamh is the youngest of seven children and until filming started for ' The Apprentice', she had worked as a marketing coordinator for a legal training firm in Dublin, having graduated from the University of Limerick. Despite coming second, Niamh was upbeat and chipper about her loss. 'I'm delighted to have come second. There was only a very slim chance that someone my age would win anyway, so getting to the final two was incredible,' she said. Niamh knew she hadn't won the competition once filming for the show actually finished in August, and since then she has had her life essentially on hold until the programme aired. 'Filming ended in August. I haven' t been able to say anything, and I couldn't take on any other full-time work contracts as people might would out that I hadn't won,' she said.

Nevertheless, Niamh says the whole Apprentice experience has been ' brilliant' and 'really good craic'. Her positivity remarkably comes after she was branded a ' bore' in one of the episodes of the show.

'It was a great experience. I'd do it all again in the morning. I made some really good friends. Sure, there were some moments of tension with people, but we've all met up again since filming ended and everyone came down to Wexford afterwards for a weekend,' she said.

She said Bill Cullen is 'exactly' the same in real life as he is on television. 'He is exactly what he says on the tin,' she said, adding that she had learned to be pretty tough under pressure. 'You are torn to shreds in the boardroom, and we were under pressure a lot of the time to get tasks done. There was a lot of filming and re-filming,' she said.

She admits that she wouldn't have entered the show if she didn't want to win it, but is still pleased with the outcome.

'I wouldn't have entered if I didn't want to win it, and I would have been great to win. But I'm delighted that I got to the final, and I'm told that can open a lot of doors for me,' she said.

During the course of the show Niamh was branded as being ' too nice' on occasion. 'I refused to bitch,' she said, adding that the production company often encouraged contestants to talk about fellow competitors to make 'good TV'.

'I wouldn't bitch. At the end of the day I have family at home watching this and I want them to be proud of me. I would rather leave with my head held high than bitch,' she said.

Since she started appearing in the show people have been 'very nice' and she's had lots of support.'' The family have been glued to the show and we've been sending over tapes of the show to my sister Aideen in London. They've been my biggest fans, but everyone has been so nice,' she said.

While she faces into a whirlwind of press interviews over the coming days, Niamh is now looking to the future. While she hasn't won the €100,000 Bill Cullen contract, she hopes she can now chart her own course.

'It's all going to wind down now. I've enjoyed the experience of The Apprentice. I've not one regret.'

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