Rose of Tralee finalists take to the stage from tonight

Kilkenny Rose Sarah Kearns is the favourite to take the crown

Rose of Tralee finalists take to the stage from tonight

Roses for 2016 Rose of Tralee International Festival with Daithi O Se (left) | Image: Rollingnews.ie

Tonight will see the first set of Roses compete to be crowned the 2016 Rose of Tralee.

Eighteen of the 32 contestants will take to the stage in the Dome with Dáithí Ó Sé tonight, in the first of two live broadcasts.

Those through to the live show (in no particular order) on Monday are:

  • Kilkenny
  • New Orleans
  • Cavan
  • Kentucky
  • Monaghan
  • South Carolina
  • Ottawa
  • Germany
  • Cork
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Kildare
  • Queensland
  • Louth
  • Sydney
  • Scotland
  • Newcastle/Gateshead
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Roscommon

And on Tuesday, the following Roses will also wow the crowd: Melbourne, Kerry, Texas, Offaly, Philadelphia, Galway, Chicago, Wicklow, Ohio, Longford, North Carolina, London, New Zealand and South Australia.

Kilkenny Rose favourite to take the crown

More than one million viewers are expected to tune in over the next two nights to watch the Rose of Tralee.

The 2016 Rose Escort of the Year, as voted by the Roses and his fellow Rose escorts, will also be announced during the programme.

Dáithí O’Sé will take to the stage from 8.00pm to interview the first Roses.

Kilkenny Rose Sarah Kearns is the favourite to take the crown, accorrding BoyleSport.

The 25-year-old school teacher is now the new 4/1 favourite.

Galway Rose Rosie Burke is currently the second favourite, while the Cork Rose Denise Collins is next in the betting at 6/1.

Chicago Rose, Maggie Rose McEldowney, whose grandmother hails from Co Derry, has also seen movement and is now 12/1, while Cavan Rose Lisa Reilly is 12/1 to provide the county with their first success in the competition.

Last year the winning Rose came from Meath and their representative this year, Treasa Sheridan, is 66/1 to win the crown for the Royal County.

BoyleSports' spokesperson Liam Glynn said: "Things are really hotting up in the Rose Of Tralee betting and we have now seen a new favourite in the form of Kilkenny Rose, Sarah Kearns."

"Judging by the bets it looks like the Marble City are not just good at producing hurlers but can also produce blooming roses."