THERE was no arguing over the winners of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing Bantry, as Katie Coppinger and Eoghan Stephenson’s stunning contemporary dance earned them three straight 10s from the judges at both the semi-final and last Saturday night’s grand final.
Katie from Coomhola and Eoghan from Bantry were hugely popular winners with their performance of A Great Big World’s Say Something.
This was the first year that a contemporary dance category had been added to the competition which organisers confirmed would return next year.
It is the by-now annual fundraiser for the town’s St Finbarr’s Boys’ NS and principal Brian Gleeson confirmed on the night that over €20,000 had been raised by the event.
In a packed ballroom of main sponsor the Westlodge, with 550 watching, the couple were clear winners, although runners-up Becky O’Sullivan and John Cronin’s high-energy jive was a popular second.
Katie, sponsored by The Water School at Pearson’s Bridge, and Eoghan, sponsored by Ma Murphy’s where he works, gave a sensual, perfectly synchronised performance for the three judges which included Dancing with the Stars contestant, Young Offenders actor Demi Isaac Oviawe.
Also judging was last year’s winner Gillian Harte and Southern Star news editor Siobhan Cronin. ‘The standard was incredibly high, but we all agreed that Eoghan and Katie really were just a cut above the rest,’ said Siobhán. ‘Their connection was mesmerising and their performance was, without doubt, the most emotional of any night. As Demi said, their dance wouldn’t have been out of place on a TV show or at the West End. It was simply perfect.’
Second placed Becky and John Cronin were the surprise hit of the night, having been chosen as a wild card in a three-way dance off at the start of the show.
Their hugely entertaining performance secured them a strong public vote seeing them leap-frog all but one of the other couples.
Organiser Sandra Maybury of PLANtastic Events told The Southern Star: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with the team at St Finbarr’s Boys’ National School to bring Strictly to Bantry for a second consecutive year and I’m thrilled to say it was another phenomenal success. The atmosphere at both the semi and the final was electric from the very start and proof that fundraising events such as Strictly are a fantastic way to bring the whole community together.’