The beautiful Letterkenny woman just edged out a number of other gorgeous women at the Radisson blu Hotel to take the title on Saturday night.
Maria, who is the daughter of well known former HSE executive Michael McCole and his wife Stephanie, will now go forward to the regional finals and hopefully a place in the Rose of Tralee itself in August.
The other contestants on the night inlcuded Shauna Hegarty, Leah Waldron, Sara Laughlin, Anita Quinn, Eileen McGlinchey, Aine Gibbons and Bernadette Sweeney.
Our photographs show just how high a standard the contest was.
If Maria is successful, she could well join Grainne Boyle from Gartan in Churchill for the final.
Teacher Grainne was chosen as the Dubai Rose recently.
As well as the selection of the Donegal Rose, Paddy Kelly from Kerrykeel was chosen as the Escort of the evening.