Northern Ireland

You're Fired! The Apprentice's Grainne McCoy

Grainne McCoy
Image caption Grainne McCoy made the final five in the current series of The Apprentice

Grainne, Lord Sugar will see you now...

Grainne McCoy battled for weeks to stay in the competition and made the final five.

On Wednesday evening we watched as the businesswoman, from Dromintee near Newry, took on Lord Sugar's aides as she was grilled on her business plan.

It didn't work out for the make-up artist and she didn't make it to the final. As they say in the Apprentice: "Grainne - You're Fired".

"I absolutely loved the process, the whole experience. I loved every task," she told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme. '

'Tipsy on gin'

"The interview was the most terrifying experience of my life."

Grainne didn't have the best luck and spent a lot more time in the losing team than the winning team each week.

Image caption Lord Sugar was impressed with Grainne and saved her from the chop a number of times

"Believe it or not, the boat show was one of my favourite ones even though we failed," she said.

During the task, Lord Sugar instructed the candidates to develop a product that they would have to sell to boating enthusiasts at the Poole Harbour Boat Show.

"I worked so hard in every task and I think Lord Sugar seen that, I put 100% into every task.

"I know I made a few mistakes, including getting half tipsy on gin and getting away with it, but he must have seen something in me and took me through to the final five."

Crazy or incredible?

Northern Ireland has had an impressive showing in the TV programme with 'Jedi' Jim Eastwood doing well and Leah Totton going on to win the competition.

"They were very strong candidates and I wanted to follow in their footsteps," she said.

"The support from home is a massive help as well. We were told it was going to be crazy but it has been incredible.

"I'm just a normal young girl from the countryside, I went on there with a dream and I made it to the final five."

Image caption In one task Grainne had to come up with a new brand of gin and got a little bit tipsy

The audience were drawn to Grainne after hearing about how she became pregnant, ages 15, while she was at school.

"It hasn't been easy but I decided after having Ryan at 16 I wasn't going to sit down and do nothing just because I had a child," she said.

In a programme broadcast earlier this week Grainne's former Head of Year Jarlath Burns told the BBC he doubted that she would return to school after having the baby.

"I went back to school four weeks later and got my exams," said Ms Burns.

"I think the whole of my town was surprised I went back. I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant until six and a half months, two months later and I had Ryan."

She said she was determined to make sure Ryan was provided for when she finished school but found it challenging to pursue her career at the same time.

"Obviously it's really difficult being a single mother. I had a full time job, I'd arrange my lunch, pick him up from school and take him to the childminder.

Then I moved to London to try and get a bit more experience in the make up field."

Image caption Grainne says she gave 100% in all the tasks even though she lost most of them

Grainne says it has now all paid off, she is moving forward in business and that her son Ryan is very proud of her.

"What I'm taking away from this is that I never believed I was capable to do as much," she said.

"I never knew I could create my own gin, well I knew I could drink it obviously, but the branding and the pitching.

"I've gained a lot of confidence and a lot of business knowledge and I'd do it all over again."

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