herald

Tuesday 20 August 2019

'This is crazy' - Love Island shock as Greg and partner Amber take home €55k prize

Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill, winners of Love Island
Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill, winners of Love Island

Limerick rugby star Greg O'Shea and his partner Amber have been crowned winners of Love Island 2019.

The pair beat off competition from favourites Tommy and Molly-Mae in last night's hotly-anticipated final.

Greg won widespread plaudits for his generous decision to share his £50,000 (€55,000) prize with Amber.

The couple looked stunned as host Caroline Flack told them they were the winners.

Amber said she could "not believe it", while Greg added: "This is crazy."

Greg's sister Laura said everyone was "very proud" of how he stayed true to himself on the show.

"It was lovely to see him smiling and so happy," she told the Herald.

"It's wonderful to see him enjoying himself so much because so far his life has been all about rugby, college and his studies."

Supporters of the rugby star packed into the 101 Club on O'Connell Street in Limerick to watch the finale, among them Ireland's Eurovision star Sarah McTernan and her friends Chloe Markham and Lara.

Polite

"I think he has really represented Limerick and Ireland so well out there - he has come across as a really nice Irish guy," Sarah said.

Family and friends watching Maura Higgins in the final of this years Love Island at the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule, Longford
Family and friends watching Maura Higgins in the final of this years Love Island at the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule, Longford

Lara said the soft-spoken and polite Greg had offered a welcome contrast to the "toxic bad boys" that had been a previous hallmark of the show.

"It was a victory for the nice guys," she said.

However, there was disappointment for Greg's fellow Irish star, Ballymahon model Maura Higgins, who finished fourth with her partner Curtis.

Nevertheless, Greg (24) and Maura (28) are in line for a bumper pay day.

With an Instagram following of more than 1.4 million and a central role in the hit show of the summer, Maura is an advertiser's dream.

This is just the beginning of things to come for her, according to her younger sister Becki.

"She seems so comfortable on the screen," the 26-year-old told the Herald last night.

"I can't see her coming back here. I'd say it will be London or somewhere else in England.

"There's so much lined up for her, but I would love to see her on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, if I could pick for her.

"She would be terrified but class on it - she'd be effing and blinding."

The family did not know Maura would be walking into the villa - and making quite an impression when she did - until the night before she burst on to TV screens.

Becki admitted it had been a shock at first.

"Ballymahon is such a small place and nothing much good comes from it - and then this happened. We were definitely in shock," she said.

"I didn't know until the night before, it was all hush-hush. It was very weird at the start. I was watching and going, 'Oh, my God, that's my sister!' But now it's a bit more normal."

Maura was known for letting the odd profanity slip, and her confidence seemed to ooze into the nation's sitting rooms every evening.

However, Becki said Maura might have been feeling very different on the inside.

"She has quietened down since she got with Curtis, but at the start I'd say she was scared herself, and of course all the girls were laughing and looking down at her and she probably felt awful, but she got the best out of it anyway," she said.

When it comes to Maura's man, Becki is looking forward to meeting professional dancer Curtis.

"I like him if Maura likes him, but I won't judge until I meet him myself," she said.

"I only see an hour of him every evening so I don't know if that's who he is. You have to meet someone to know."

Jealousy

As for the sudden media attention, Becki said it had been tough to look at some of the nastier comments.

"At the start it was a bit much, there was a lot of hate coming up. There was love for her, but there was stupid stuff - pure jealousy really. People were saying things about her accent, but now I just ignore it all," she said.

"I think she knew herself before she went in that things were going to be negative and some things would be positive. She knows that comes with that line of work.

"I think she will come out and not realise people are so in love with her as they actually are."

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