Winner all round | 

RTÉ presenter Sinead Kennedy says she hopes Winning Streak will return

“The truth is I don’t know. I’d love to think it was coming back — I know people absolutely adore the programme based on my DMs alone”

Sinead with her Winning Streak co-host Marty Whelan

Sinead is famed for her style

Sinead Kennedy having fun at our exclusive shoot

Sinead with husband Conor Kirwan on their wedding day

Sinead is all smiles with baby daughter Indie

Sinead co-presenting RTÉ’s Today show with Dáithí Ó Sé

Close pal Marty Whelan with Phil O’Kelly showing off his tattoo tribute

Sinead on location at the Montenotte Hotel

Sinead on location at the Montenotte Hotel

Deirde ReynoldsSunday World

Sinead Kennedy may count Marty Whelan among her closest pals, but the good news for her husband is that she won’t be getting his face tattooed on her thigh anytime soon.

Her Winning Streak co-host hilariously wound up on Dubliner Phil O’Kelly’s leg after the dad-of-three lost a Fantasy Football bet with a pal last month.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t stop laughing,” jokes Sinead of the exclusive images of the pair, which appeared in the Sunday World. “I was like, ‘Fair play to that guy’.

“I actually met Marty the other day and I was like: ‘Don’t mind anybody else getting [one of] me, you can get a tattoo of me on your backside — go for it!’ He got a good laugh out of that as well.

Sinead is famed for her style

“I’m very jealous altogether. In fairness to the tattoo artist, the likeness is very good, and you’d always be nervous about those kinds of things. Certainly, for anybody who knows Marty, you’re like, ‘How do you capture the glint in his eye?’, so fair play to all involved.

“I certainly won’t be getting any more tattoos,” she laughs at the idea to pay a visit to Temple Bar studio Live Fast Tattoos. “I’ve enough of them. But Marty left his mark in other ways, I don’t need a tattoo of him. He’s forever on my heart.”

Cork native Sinead spent her recent 39th birthday with Magazine+ahead of a reunion with her other ‘TV husband’ Dáithí Ó Sé on RTÉ’s Todayshow.

The bubbly presenter revealed how she can’t wait to “cause mayhem” with the Kerryman after spending the summer in Brussels with her husband, Conor Kirwan, a naval officer currently seconded to the European Defence Agency there, and their 18-month-old daughter, Indie.

“It’s funny, it’s not one of those places that I was ever like, ‘I want to get to Belgium tomorrow’, but oh my god, what a fabulous country. It’s just really chilled.

“It was nice to be able to spend time as a three, which is rare at the moment, unfortunately — but that’s just our lives and that’s work and it’s for a finite amount of time, which is a relief.

Sinead with husband Conor Kirwan on their wedding day

“We’ve been doing this for quite some time and it just gets harder as she gets older, I think because she’s more aware of what’s going on. She misses him and of course, he misses her — he always missed her — but I think she’s more aware of missing him now that she’s that little bit older.

“It’s nice to know that kind of over and back, to-and-fro, and not seeing each other and him and Indie not seeing each other every day will not be forever, thank God.”

The photogenic couple wed in 2014 before welcoming their first child last March.

Despite previously admitting to feeling anxious about starting a family, the former kids’ TV presenter says she’s relishing her new role as a working mom.

Sinead is all smiles with baby daughter Indie

“That’s how I felt prior to having Indie, I suppose,” reassesses Sinead, who got her big break on S@ttitude at 19 following a nationwide talent hunt. “I wasn’t sure about how it would go and how it would be.

“But I can tell you the minute she came into this world, I was literally changed forever. I always heard people say things like that and thought, ‘That’s never going to be me’. And then I ended up being exactly what everybody said — changed profoundly from the moment she arrived into this world.

“I have to say, it has been the making of me. I’ve nothing but positive things to say [about motherhood], and I know sometimes people talk about toxic positivity, but if you’re looking for anything else from me you’re coming to the wrong place, because I am just living for it,” she beams.

“I just feel incredibly lucky and grateful and happy.”

Sinead Kennedy having fun at our exclusive shoot

Last seen on Zoo Live earlier this year, now fans can once more catch Sinead each Monday and Tuesday on RTÉ’s flagship daytime chat show, with Maura Derrane on co-hosting duty in the Cork studio for the rest of the week.

“I’m always excited. I’m always looking forward to it,” tells the UCC alumna. “There’s a buzz that comes from being on air that doesn’t come with anything else.

“For me, it’s just great fun to be back in the office and catching up with everybody. Myself, Maura and Dáithí are rarely together as a three because she’s in the studio the days I’m not and obviously with Covid-19 and everything else, I wasn’t in their bubble, so we haven’t seen each other in real life in quite some time.

“We keep in touch. We would have kept in touch throughout my maternity leave, and all summer we’d be sending each other stupid stuff online and just checking in for the chats.”

Sinead co-presenting RTÉ’s Today show with Dáithí Ó Sé

As well as appearing in front of the camera, the broadcaster has also made a name for herself behind the scenes, most notably producing the award-winning documentary Laura Brennan: This is Me, following the final months of the HPV vaccine campaigner, who died from cervical cancer aged 26 in 2019.

This is Me had such a great impact, but none of that would have happened only for Laura, the kind of person she was. She was just phenomenal,” Sinead pays tribute.

“People are still watching it on the RTÉ Player, which for me — and I’m sure the Brennan family as well — is so important because it’s something that comes up for families year on year... when your kids are potentially starting secondary school and you’ve that decision to make about the HPV vaccine.

“It might sound strange, but I watch it every now and again because it’s so lovely to hear her voice and hear her laugh. It’s lovely to have captured all those moments, but it can be painful for people to rewatch as well I’m sure, her family and friends.

“I’m always tipping away with ideas,” continues Sinead, who also made a mark with 2016’s The Crossing, documenting the Irish Navy’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

“There’s no one specific project I’m working on at the moment. Anything I want to make involves immersing yourself completely in somebody’s life, and that hasn’t been possible up to now.”

Sinead on location at the Montenotte Hotel

Crowd-pleaser Winning Streak, too, was put on pause due to the pandemic, last airing in March 2020, and though she’s crossing her fingers for its return, for the umpteenth time, the stylish host insists she doesn’t know if or when it will.

“Ah, the famous question,” she jokes. “The truth is I don’t know. I’d love to think it was coming back — I know people absolutely adore the programme based on my DMs alone. People come up to me and say, ‘My granny loves you on Winning Streak’,so I’m like, ‘Your granny? But you’re the one coming up to me so I think you might also watch Winning Streak!’

“Again, with Marty, we get on so well. When we were together the other day in Donnybrook, everybody was like, ‘Oh my god, is it back?’, and we’re like, ‘No, we’re just hanging out!’ But hopefully, it’ll be back. It’s such a gorgeous show with regular people coming in and going home with a tax-free cheque.”

Famed for her funky style, ever-changing hair and nose ring, she and the 66-year-old TV and radio veteran may be a chalk and cheese pairing, but Sinead says she’s long since stopped stressing about fitting in.

“I had this idea in my head that if you were going to be a presenter on RTÉ One, you had to conform to a certain look,” she admits.

“But actually I was always allowed to express myself, look like myself, have my hair any old way, nobody really said anything — they just left me off and I thought it was great.

“You get comments about your appearance all the time. Some people will hate it, some will love it, but as long as I’m comfortable that’s the most important thing.

“I was dying to get my septum pierced,” adds Sinead. “I think they’re class, but I think with a toddler I like my nose a bit too much — one more thing for her to hang out of is probably not the best idea I ever had!”

  • The Montenotte Hotel’s ‘Urban Escape Package’ costs €270pps. The two-night stay includes breakfast both mornings, a three-course meal in the Panorama Bistro and glass of Champagne Rosé on the Panorama Terrace or in The Glasshouse. Guests will also receive a gift of a signature Bellevue Spa lemongrass & ginger candle on departure.
  • Catch the new series of Today every weekday at 3.30pm on RTÉ One

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