Longford model Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard miss out on winning Love Island
LONGFORD model Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard last night missed out on being crowned winners of Love Island 2019.
After eight weeks of island drama, the winning couple was named as Limerick rugby player Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill following a public vote during the highly-anticipated live final on ITV2.
Four couples were battling it out for the title and the £50,000 prize money, with the news revealed by show host Caroline Flack.
Boxer Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hague, who had been the bookies favourites to win, finished second while basketball player Ovie Soko and India Reynolds finished in third place.
But it was Greg, who had sailed through to the final as part of a late-onset couple with the fan favourite Amber, that ended the series victorious with the couple sharing the prize fund at the end of last night's show.
Maura, who got together with professional dancer Curtis (23) following his failed relationship with air stewardess Amy Hart, finished in fourth place.
Speaking after the result, Maura - a favourite with fans since entering the villa last month - said she "can't believe we got this far".
The 28-year-old, who hails from the village of Forgney, close to Ballymahon in Longford, has been praised for putting the Midland county well and truly on the map on the reality dating show.
Maura, who reportedly missed her sister's wedding in Ballymahon last Friday to appear on the show, raised eyebrows at first for her straight-talking and brash behaviour.
But she won people over with her carefree attitude and one-liners, with viewers warming to her honest and direct approach to life.
Her popularity had also travelled as far as the United States with Lena Dunham of US TV show Girls tweeting that she was on team Maura, while comedian Amy Schumer also voiced her support.
During last night's final episode, all four couples attended the Love Island 2019 summer ball, where they offered their declarations of love to one another.
Tommy began to read his out before dropping his cards to the floor and saying: "This isn't me. I want my heart to speak to you, not my mouth.
"From the first moment I walked up into the hideaway, I instantly knew I had seen the most beautiful girl on this entire planet.
"You're absolutely everything I've ever wanted in a girl..."
In turn, Molly-Mae told him: "Tommy, for someone whose career depends on fighting other people, you're the gentlest person I've ever met.
"You're my best friend and the most incredible dad to our Elly-Belly (her stuffed animal). Thank you for showing me kindness and nothing but pure love every day."
Curtis began his speech telling Maura: "Once upon a time, there was man on a journey. He had one goal in mind on his journey of crazy events.
"That goal was to find a princess. This princess wasn't just any princess, she was the most beautiful princess in all the lands..."
Meanwhile, Maura referenced Curtis's previous relationship with Amy in her speech.
"Curtis. Here before you I stand a very different woman, to the one who walked in the villa seven weeks ago," she said.
"I had to spend my first few weeks watching somebody else fall in love with you, when all I really wanted was it to be me you were dancing with..."
Ovie told India she had "cheered me up and made me smile", adding: "You've even had Mr Cool feeling nervous."
"If there was one thing I could change, it would have been that you would have come sooner," he said.
In response India told him: "I think we can all see that you were carved by angels. I couldn't have prepared myself for what comes with it. You are so kind, caring and considerate.
"You've proven to me that chivalry isn't dead..."
When it was Amber and Greg's turn, he revealed he had penned her a poem, reading: "I'm going to keep this short and sweet, just like when we first came to meet.
"Up in the hideaway sheltered from the trouble, we instantly connected and formed our own little bubble..."
Amber told Greg: "It would be fair to say that I've had quite a journey in the villa this summer. There have been so many highs and then some lows, but then along came Greg.
"Thank you for helping to build me back up. You've always been so sweet and lovely to me and you've managed to bring out my soft side..."