When are you all washed up at just 25? In the beauty pageant game, according to the Miss World rules.

Miss Mayo Marie Hughes was crowned Miss Ireland just last Saturday night, ahead of 30 other competitors.

The very next day it was ruled that she will be too old to represent the country at the Miss World competition later this year.

Competing in Miss World was the big draw for Miss Ireland competitors, so she has basically been stripped of her big prize.

The runner-up in the competition, Miss Belfast Rebecca Maguire, is now set to represent Ireland at the competition in China in August. She was pipped to the post for the second year in row.

Miss Derry, Katie McAuley, was placed third.

It later emerged at a meeting with Miss Ireland organisers on Sunday that Marie would be the ripe old age of 26 in August and therefore does not fit the age criteria for the international competition.

In these circumstances, the first runner-up is called upon to take the title of Miss Ireland and represent Ireland in the Miss World pageant.

Miss Mayo’s loss is now Miss Belfast’s gain.

Before the final in Dublin, brunette Rebecca, a 20-year-old Queen’s University pharmacy student from Andersonstown had been widely tipped to take the Miss Ireland crown.

Last night, Rebecca told the Belfast Telegraph she was shocked by the news of Marie’s departure, but is pleased to have the chance to represent Ireland in the competition.

“My heart goes out to Marie. It’s a big shock, but I’m delighted. I can’t wait to go to China.”

Article from Belfast Telegraph