herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Romance? No, even my girlfriend is pals with Caroline, says Apprentice reject

defence: Fired hopeful was just trying to 'protect' brunette solicitor

THE APPRENTICE "cosy cartel" was broken up by Bill Cullen last night when team leader Kieran Walsh fell on his own sword to defend his pals.

Fired businessman Kieran claims that he was just trying to "protect" his friend Caroline McHugh (26) from the boardroom battle but rejected any suggestions of a romantic link.

And he said that his girlfriend is now quite friendly with the attractive Roscommon solicitor.

In the task last night, project manager Kieran (28) led the weaker team; presiding over a poor sales turnaround.

At one stage, Kieran whispered to Caroline that she shouldn't worry if she didn't sell any Ryobe Tools in their task in Woodies' stores.

"Don't be worrying about sales -- if you think you are not doing well it'll mean you come into the boardroom, it's not going to be the case," he told her.

But Kieran explained to the Herald that he felt that Caroline's role was just as vital as the other team members.

"I was trying to keep up morale," he said. "It was just one of those things that I was trying to protect Caroline."

The pair, along with Jamie Moran (29), were accused by Niamh Humphries of being in a clique and other contestants felt that they worked against the rest of the team.

But Kieran said that he had no regrets and was simply sticking to his morals.

"I don't think friendship worked against me in the house," Kieran said.

"You know when you live, eat and sleep together 24-7.

"It's a callous and cold world out there and that was one thing I was glad of -- that I didn't have to face bringing my friends into the boardroom."

Kieran admitted that his Canadian girlfriend Mary (24) was concerned about how the show would portray his relationship with Caroline.

"There is nothing to the rumours of romance," he said. "There might have been drinks in Coppers with everyone but there was no relationship at all.

"Caroline is quite friendly with my girlfriend now."

And he revealed that the minute he was evicted from the Apprentice house he ordered a taxi for his girlfriend to travel up from Cork to Dublin to be with him.

Before he was fired, Kieran told his team in the reception area that he was "of strong moral ethics".

"Everyone will have to fight their corner, just keep it clean," he said.

And he told the panel that "no one worked harder than Caroline", which was immediately seconded by Jamie.

But Bill Cullen urged Kieran to select the weakest team players and said that he didn't want any "lambs" because they would be "led to the slaughter".

"Make sure you chose right because there will be no cosy cartels in my boardrooms," he ordered.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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