A Donegal woman who was representing Ulster in the finals of the “Mum of the Year” this year scooped coveted top prize of Ireland’s top mother at the National Finals in Dublin this week.
Donegal mother Fionnuala Marston from Muff snatched the title when she was awarded the Woman’s Way/John West Mum of the Year 2011 at a reception in The Westin Hotel, Dublin.
Fionnuala was nominated by her mother-in-law Kathleen who describes her as “the daughter I never had”.
Donegal was exceptionally well represented this year as she was joined by two other Donegal women in the finals.
Rosaleen O’Keefe, a teacher from Bundoran and Maria Kelly an Oncology nurse from Stranorlar joined Fionnuala in a Donegal dominated final.
This year’s Woman’s Way/John West Mum of the Year annual competition attracted over 1,000 entries from across Ireland. Fifteen mums were chosen to attend the finals in Dublin – three from each of the four provinces and from Dublin.
The Muff mother, Fionnuala was chosen as the “Mum of the Year” by a panel of well
known personalities including Mary Kennedy, Niall O’Farrell, Sinead Desmond, Miriam Ahern, Bláithnaid Ní Chofaigh, Sybil Mulcahy, Lorraine Keane and Aine Toner, editor, Woman’s Way.
The Donegal woman won a €2,500 cash prize courtesy of John West as well as €4,000 of pampering treats and will be appearing on the Miriam O’Callaghan TV show within the next few weeks.
Woman’s Way publisher, Norah Casey says, “Fionnuala was chosen as the 2011 Mum of the Year because of her determination to not let circumstance hold her back from pursuing and achieving her goals.
“This remarkable mother of two and grandmother of one left school at 14 to work in a local textile factory. returning to education just a few years ago when her children went to school.
“She later completed a full-time business degree while keeping up her full-time job as a primary school secretary, studying between midnight and 4am each night to succeed.
“On top of this, Fionnuala’s coached the school’s soccer team for four years despite coping with a severe form of epilepsy she developed in her late teens.”
Fionnuala’s mother-in-law Kathleen says, “It’s hard to put what Fionnuala is really like down on paper. I feel I am not doing her justice.”
Áine Toner, Editor of Woman’s Way said: “We were humbled in reading Fionnuala’s story, of a mother who has achieved so much in such a space of time. The fact that she wouldn’t let her circumstances dictate the rest of her life is inspirational. She is full of real get-up-and-go and we’re honoured to award her our Mum of the Year title for 2011.”