With Dublin singer Mary Byrne out of the running, Irish interest in the final of the British reality television music competition ‘The X Factor’ rests with Niall Horan, one fifth of the boy-band One Direction.

RTÉ reporter Eleanor Burnhill visits Niall Horan’s hometown of Mullingar and finds the whole town celebrating the success of the 17-year-old local boy made good.

Niall’s brother Greg Horan has no doubt that One Direction will win ‘The X Factor’ final. Also supporting Niall are his closest friends from Coláiste Mhuire secondary school, Sean Cullen, Adam Keena and Graham Dowling. The boys say fame has not gone to their friend's head but he has become sophisticated and professional since participating in the talent show.

Coláiste Mhuire school principal Joe O'Meara was supportive of Niall’s request to postpone his Leaving Certificate examinations. He describes Niall as a very grounded individual and advised him to

Follow your dream, come back to us whenever you’re ready, and I’m sure he will.

Promoter and ‘X Factor’ judge Louis Walsh has no qualms in stating Niall is the ‘luckiest guy in the world’ as he was rejected as a solo artist in ‘The X Factor’ but given a second shot at fame when the decision was taken to create a boy-band from the unsuccessful solo singers.

To honour Niall Horan's achievements, Local Councillor Ken Glynn Day is planning a Day of Recognition by Mullingar Town Council in January 2011. In the meantime, One Direction’s fate will be decided following a public vote in ‘The X Factor’ final.

A ‘Morning Ireland’ report from Elenor Burnhill broadcast on 10 December 2010.