'I am devastated', says Aoife as toe injury ends her TV dance dream
Former Miss Ireland Aoife Walsh has been forced to pull out of Dancing With The Stars after fracturing a toe.
The injury has not recovered in time to continue with the show's schedule.
The 27-year-old Tipperary woman has a cast on her foot which won't come off until next week.
"I'm devastated to have to hang up my dancing shoes so soon, but it just wasn't meant to be this time," she said in a statement.
"I want to thank RTE and the producers ShinAwiL for the opportunity and their support.
"I'd also like to wish all my fellow contestants the very best in the competition - I'll be watching and cheering them on every week.
"I'm looking forward to getting better and back on both feet again very soon.
"For now, the dream has ended, but I live my life believing that the glass is always half-full and when one door closes, another always opens."
RTE said it will announce Aoife's replacement in the coming days.
Her toe injury had halted her rehearsals for the competition and she would have been a month behind the other celebrities.
Last week, Aiofe told the Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Green on 2fm that the advice was to rest her toe and give it time to heal.
Aoife revealed that she didn't sustain the injury while dancing, but rather getting out of bed - she stubbed her toe on the frame.
Sports presenter Marty Morrissey is among the stars who are still gearing up for the opening episode of the new series, which begins on January 7.
Aoife has previously tipped Marty as "one to watch".
Although she was unable to rehearse herself, the beauty queen and model has been keeping an eye on the pro- gress of the other contestants.
"Marty has the moves," she said. "He can shake it. He's getting into it.
"He's taking it really seriously and he's going for it. Marty is one to watch."
Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne will return to present the new series, which will air on RTE One for 12 weeks.
A total of 11 celebrities will pair up with their professional dancing partners.
But all eyes are now on who will replace Aoife.