Carlow woman takes leap of faith as she ends up in final of remarkable competition

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Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

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The Leap of Faith winner, Kellie O'Neill from New Ross is congratulated by fellow finalist, Amy Williams from Borris, Carlow and Shonagh Lyons, Beat 102-103

To mark the leap year in 2020, regional radio station Beat 102-103 decided to create a once in a lifetime competition for one lucky listener and a friend.

There was one catch: listeners were invited to take "leap of faith" with Beat and register for the promotion without knowing anything about the final prize!

The only information provided by the radio station was that the winner would have to be available on February 29, with passport at the ready and suitcase in tow for one memorable weekend.

Thousands entered from all over the South East of Ireland for the chance to win a Leap Day experience of a lifetime.  

After four weeks of qualifying rounds, by February 28, just two people remained.  

Amy Williams from Carlow and Kellie O’Neill from Wexford.

The pair had to make their way to the Broadcast Centre in Waterford City where they were brought live on air by Beat DJ David Hammond on his Beat at Work show. 

The presenter revealed that they were about to be blindfolded and chauffeured to their next top-secret destination by The Audi A1 Beat fleet.

Dunmore Adventure was the location for a nail-biting finale, hosted live on air by Beat duo, drivetime presenter Darren Rice and Big Saturday presenter Shonagh Lyons.  

Katie and Amy had to complete a time trial involving a challenging, water based, obstacle course that culminated in a giant leap of faith off the adventure Centre’s inflatable “wibit” into the sea where they then had to swim to shore and ring a bell to sound the end of the time trial. 

The two women battled through the course courageously, cheered on by friends and family from the shoreline and via Beat’s Facebook live page.  

Among the online viewers were some of Amy’s family who were nervously watching from Manchester and Bolton in the UK!

It was an epic battle which eventually saw an emotional Kellie O’Neill crowned the overall winner of Leap of Faith 2020 and she finally found out her prize; well, the first part at least!

Kellie and her mate Jenny Delaney were whisked off to the Gibson Hotel in Dublin on Friday night where they enjoyed a Kisstory gig in the 3Arena featuring acts like Nelly, Shaggy and Salt N Peppa.

They couldn’t party too late into the night though as they were told that Beat presenter Darren Rice had to take them to Dublin airport for 10am the following morning.  

Once at the airport, it was revealed via video link from the “Leap of Faith Commander in Chief”, aka Beat Breakfast presenter Niall Power that London was their next stop, to see Tones and I perform live.  

The epic journey didn’t stop there. On Sunday, the pair found out that it was time to travel across the Atlantic to the city that never sleeps, to experience an intimate gig with one of Ireland’s hottest current acts, Dermot Kennedy.  

The surprises kept coming; Kellie and Jenny discovered not only were they going to the gig but were also going to get to meet Dermot Kennedy in the flesh too!

The whirlwind weekend of attending three concerts in three different countries came to a climax when Beat presenter Darren Rice handed over the final leg of the prize, $500 in cash for the pair to have a little shopping spree in NYC before returning home

Beat Boss Gabrielle Cummins has described this latest competition from the station as "a mammoth undertaking that involved a serious amount of planning from the creative team behind the scenes, but it all paid off in the end".