'The dream is not over'

Galway countdown star hoping for quarter final success following yesterday's loss

To describe Liam Moloney as a fanaticial fan of the TV show Countdown is something of an understatement. Liam has been watching the show religiously since he was a youngster and to appear on the programme has been a lifelong dream. Following three applications, he managed to do just that this week and to acquit himself as well as he did during his time on the show has been an experience beyond his wildest dreams.

For those who are unfamiliar with Countdown, it is one of the longest running gameshows in the world, being the first programme to be aired on Channel 4 and 70 series' have been broadcast since 1982. Two contestants are pitted against each other, and the clock, testing literacy and numerical agility.

Participants compete in three disciplines, firstly there are 10 letters rounds, in which the contestants attempt to make the longest word possible from nine randomly chosen letters. Next up on the show are four numbers rounds, in which arithmetic is used to reach a random target number from six other numbers. Finally comes the conundrum, a buzzer round in which the contestants compete to solve a nine-letter word puzzle. During the series heats, the winning contestant returns the next day until he or she loses or has accumulated eight wins, at which point participation is capped until the final.

Unfortunately for Mr Moloney he lost his seventh game yesterday but due to the astounding scores he racked up earlier in the week, it is highly likely he will still be able to make the quarter finals in October. It was obvious from the banter between presenters Nick Hewer and Rachel Riley that they were impressed with his performance with Rachel commenting at one stage that Mr Moloney had produced words that the team had never heard before.

The irony of his loss yesterday was that he had managed to beat a seven-time champion on his first game. "That was a great buzz. I managed to set the highest score of the series - 118. I then broke my own record by scoring 121 on Monday. I scored 668 in six games and I am thrilled with that. I could not see how I would not make the quarter finals with a score like that."

The affable 37 year old, who works in Lake Region Medical in Parkmore, is well known around town having spent a number of years working as a barman in Taaffes and The King's Head. He says the support from the people of Galway this week has been immense. "People have been coming up to me constantly shaking my hand. Everybody at work is talking about it, I have got hundreds of text messages, emails and Facebook messages. It has been an amazing experience."

He is now excitedly preparing for the next stage of his Countdown journey. "I am not disappointed after yesterday's loss, Im happy with my performance and I have achieved more than I ever thought I would. It is quite a pressurised environment and with being such a fan of the show, I actually even surprised myself with how I relaxed I was. I was really happy that I was able to keep my cool. I am going to put my head down over the weekend and formulate a plan for the quarter final. I need to speed up on the conundrums, increase my vocabulary and keep on top of the numbers."

Nobody can accuse this man of lacking focus.

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