By Kathy O’Sullivan
A YOUNG Ardfert singer was the winner of this year’s
‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition, which for the
first time included young people from all over the
Iona Le Gros, from Tralee, is 17 years old and has
been studying music for just two years.
Iona was declared the winner of the three day
competition at the Great Southern Hotel conference
centre on Sunday night.
This is the sixth year Killarney Rotary Club has run
the Young Musician of the Year competition and was the
first year the competition was extended to include
students from both North and South Kerry.
In second place on the night was Kenmare student
Kieran Finnegan. The 14-year-old student of Pobail Scoil
Inbhear Na Sceine has been taking part in the Young
Musician of the Year competition for the past two years
and took part in the piano section.
Lispole’s Julie Winters came third on the night.
Julie, who is 16-years-old, attends music classes in
Dingle and Cork and is a student at Dingle Presentation
School. Julie participated in the woodwind section.
The runners up of the competition include Maria
O’Connor from Killarney, Margaret Reen from Listowel,
Conor Cremin from Killarney, and Katie McCauliffe from
There was an overall bursary of €2,000 in prizes on
the night. The qualifying rounds were held at the KDYS
centre in Killarney on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with
over 160 performances taking place over the three-day
event. Each participant performed two pieces. Up to 300
people attended Sunday night’s final where the Cork
based band Music Collage performed. Last year’s winner
of the competition Shane Ladden from Castlemaine also
performed on the night. Shane is continuing his musical
studies in Cork School of Music.
The President of Killarney Rotary Club, James Foley,
said this year’s event was a “fantastic” success and
said members of the Rotary Club are already looking
forward to next year’s competition.
“This year we extended the competition to young
people from all over Kerry while we also introduced
three additional categories — duets, trios and quartets.
We also had a prize fund of in excess of €2,000.
“The judges were very impressed with all of the
performances. We at the Rotary Club believe it is very
important that young school-going musicians have an
opportunity to perform in public in their chosen
discipline,” he added.