After an unbelievable finale to the Suit Factor, we have finally got a winner, in Corks answer to 007, the one and only Derek O’ Rourke. Right up until around 11pm last night, there was nothing between the two finalists in votes. All day yesterday, the 17th of January, Derek and Stephen O’ Leary were neck and neck and constantly swapping the lead in their respective bids to become Ireland’s best dressed man in a suit. I looked at the count yesterday morning at 10am and with Derek ahead by almost 100 votes I was convinced that he had finaly killed off O’ Leary’s challange. Imagine the shock then when i returned to my pc yesterday at 6pm to discover that O’ Leary was after moving into the lead by 50 votes.At that stage he had about 1500 votes to Derek’s 1450. I really was stunned that the man behind the highly sucessful company O’ Leary analytics had come back from the dead to lead the competition going into its final few hours.What a competitor.
Derek O’ Rourke however has repeatedly shown throughout this competition that he does not take kindly to being pushed into second place. He got the extended O’ Rourke clan in on the act and our facebook page became a shrine to the man widely known as “the tux”. Slowly as the night moved on O’ Rourke began to claw his way back and by about 9pm he was 20 votes ahead again. His supporters, fans and family came out in force and rallied together in a bid to get him over the finish line. By 11pm he was once again looking invincible with a lead of 40 votes. Nobody however could write off O’ Leary and there were many who felt he might have one more trick up his sleeve, that he was saving for the final hour. His friend Eoin O Callaghan was bombarding the page with shout outs and support and like Steve was in this until the bitter end.Alas, this was not to be as O’ Rourke became even stronger after 11pm and Stephen just couldn’t live with the pace.
At this stage, the rate at which the votes were flying in to our website was truly unbelievable. All day yesterday the votes were coming into the site with such ferocity that it looked increasingly likely that our server might not be able to cope with the pressure. The last hour was the most bizzare with the vote count going up in double digit figures every 30 seconds. James Northridge of island clothing who is part of the Suit Factor judging panel became increasingly anxious that the site might crash. The pressure on the server was becoming unbearable and I was getting texts, e-mails and facebooks from people saying the page was no longer loading.
The amazing thing was that the site held out until a minute to twelve before crashing temporarily.It could no longer cope with the number of hits. Nobody was able to see the results that we had promised at the stroke of midnight.People were on the facebook page clamouring for confirmation of who had won but we could not confirm it because the site was down.It was a bit like the end a world title fight when everybody is waiting for the referee to hold up the hands of the winner.You think you know who has done enough to win,but you need confirmation.The suspense was unbelievable.People were coming onto the page and tentatively congratulating Derek.But no one was sure.Peoples’ hearts were in their mouths.And then James came from nowhere and at 12.10 announced the site was back up and there it was -the screen shot of Derek’s and Stephen’s final tally.It read Derek O Rourke-1941 votes and Stephen O Leary-1903 votes.The page was hopping with congrats for Derek and commiserations for the most gallant of loosers in Steve O leary.Afterwards I stayed on the page for an hour or so to keep the page running as virtual celebrations stayed going into the early hours of the morning-and in the case of the O Rourke clan I am sure,real celebrations as well.