RTE’s Sinead Kennedy on Winning Streak’s future as ‘unreal’ number of people ask about it



RTE presenter Sinead Kennedy says she “hopes” Winning Streak returns next year as she can’t bear to say goodbye to the iconic game show.

Some fear the Saturday night viewing tradition, co-hosted by Sinead and Marty Whelan, is in jeopardy after it was decided not to air on its usual fall slot this year.

The National Lottery said the long-running show is unlikely to return to our screens until late 2023.

Sinead told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know. But I know Marty and I would both love to come back.

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“I was out the other night and the number of young people asking me about Winning Streak was unreal.

“They are not the age group that I would associate with this.

“It was such a staple part of Saturday nights for 30 years.

“It’s a long-running game show that has stolen a part of people’s hearts.

“People from all over the place got up and won a lot of money, there was a lot of money to be won.

“It’s hard to replace it because there’s no such thing as a good, fun hour of TV.

“But the truth is, I don’t know any more than anyone else.

Winning €522,000 for Mairead Cox of Fairymount, Co. Roscommon. Michelle Morgan Mairead’s daughter won the Winning Streak Game Show jackpot tonight. Michelle was playing on behalf of her mother Mairead when she added €500,000 when she spun the Ferris wheel, adding to the €22,000 she had already won. Michelle is pictured (2nd from left) with Michelle (centre) receiving her National Lottery winnings from George Canavan with game show hosts Marty Whelan and Sinead Kennedy. Pic Mac Innes Photography

“I just hope that when it’s safe, we have the public and the competitors.

“And I will break the sequins again.”

Former children’s TV host Sinead, 38, has brought her own quirky style to daytime TV.

She said: “I’ve always been in style, I’ve always done my own thing, I don’t feel any pressure about it.

“Looking at the platinum hair, the nose ring, the tattoos…going into Winning Streak, I thought ‘this is going to be fun’.

“I thought maybe I should dress differently to suit the program, and then I realized that’s not what I was hired for.

“I am who I am, I was given this job because I am me, so I became me again.

“Coming to the Today Show, you’re trying to fit in because it’s not a Saturday night show, so you’re trying to tone it down.

“There’s less glitter, although I love my glitter. I don’t think about it too much, I just wear what I like.

“In real life, if you’ve seen me, I’m like a slob – big oversized sweaters, leggings.

“Style is such a personal thing, but you can also have fun with it.

The iconic National Lottery and RTE Game Show, Winning Streak

“I was wrong several times, but it is sure that the hair grows back…”

The Today Show is over for the summer break, but Sinead returns to our screens next week with a three-part RTE special, Zoo Live.

The program will be broadcast live from a purpose-built studio in Dublin Zoo’s African Savannah with celebrity guests. Sinead revealed, “I’m abuzz. It took months of planning. It’s a unique type of gig to get.

“I must be one of the most scrambled people on TV because I’ve had some great gigs. Long may it last.

“I love animals. I’m going to present with the giraffes in the background, it’s magical.

“I first got the call before Covid, so it took two years, but we’re finally here.

“We’ll have Doireann Garrihy, Kevin McGaharn, Jedward…they’ll be shoveling poo and messing with the animals.

“They shoot this week and then come back on the show and tell us about it. I think it sounds like everyone’s dream, a day as a zookeeper.

“Also I love live TV, nothing like live, it’s my bread and butter.

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong – and we work with animals too, so hey.”

Sinead has revealed she was torn between wanting to be a vet or a TV presenter when she was young – but opted for TV when she realized vets had to put animals to sleep.

She also revealed that there are no animals she doesn’t like.

The Cork native added: ‘I wouldn’t be afraid of lizards, but I wouldn’t go out to take them as pets either.

“I love big cats and wolves, they are so beautiful. I could watch them all day, the way they move, the power of their gait. With this show, you experience the zoo behind closed doors, what animals when closed to the public.

Dublin Zoo is running an online competition to name its new baby Red Panda and the winner will be announced on next week’s show. Sinead said: “The way they always like to do this is to give the animal a name that reflects where it comes from.

“The red panda is native to Nepal – so people have to do a bit of research, get creative.

“The winner not only gets the joy of naming a red panda, but also wins a family pass to the zoo for a year so they can visit it as well.”

When it comes to her 14-month-old daughter, Indie Sinead admits she’s in love.

But she said life can be tough because her naval officer husband Conor Kirwan is based in Belgium.

She added: “This is the best thing that has ever happened to us, this is an absolute dream boat. She changed my life in every way, I love being a mom.

“Long distance is a bit difficult, but for us it’s always been our reality, either when he was in Cork I was in Dublin or he’s overseas…

“His job and my job meant we always spent a lot of time away from each other.

“With Indie now he misses her so much, he sees her as much as he can, as much as we can work around work and travel and everything.

“There are a lot of video calls, he sees her fussing every day at bath time and at bedtime – even though it’s me doing it physically, he’s there too.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s our reality. We knew that was how it was going to be and it wouldn’t last forever.

Sinead also spoke about how heartbreaking returning to work after extended maternity leave was.

She said: “It was very difficult to leave her, I found it very difficult to hand her over to the nanny.

“There were tears – I cried all the way to work the first few days.

“But my nanny is phenomenal, Indie loves it, she’s so happy there.

“I know she’s going to go and have a great day.”

  • Zoo Live is on RTE One on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday June 7-9 at 7 p.m.

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