It's as-you-were in Wexford at the bookies
The leading Irish bookies do not expect any major shocks in Wexford come polling day on February 26.
Paddy Power and Boylesports are playing it safe, predicting it will be as-you-were in party terms in the Wexford constituency, with big guns Wallace, Howlin and Kehoe returned, James Browne claiming his dad John's FF seat, and Michael D'Arcy retaking the outgoing Liam Twomey's seat for Fine Gael, to regain the Dail seat he lost in 2011.
Mick Wallace is the odds-on favourite to again top the poll here. The former developer, who topped the poll with in excess of 13,000 first preferences in 2011, is 1/20 at Boylesports and 1/40 at Paddy Power.
Wexford's five seats are a tight call, even for the bookies, and the odds point to a seven- or eight-horse race.
North Wexford Fianna Fail councillor Malcolm Byrne and independent Mayor of Wexford Ger Carthy, the son of the late, great county councillor Leo, are nipping at the heels of the top five in the betting at both Paddy Power and Boylesports.
Very close behind is Sinn Fein county councillor Johnny Mythen, who is well known in the Enniscorthy area from his time on the local council, and his work with the 1798 Centre, but maybe lacks the county profile of some of his competitors. His party's rise in popularity will surely help considerably in overcoming that particular obstacle.
Although Lisa McDonald came close for Fianna Fail in 2007, it's 24 years since a woman was elected to the Dail from the Wexford Constituency - and FG's Avril Doyle remains the only female TD Wexford has ever elected.
The bookies don't really rate the chances of any of the five women vying for a Wexford seat on February 26, but Julie Hogan (FG), Aoife Byrne (FF) and Deirdre Wadding, of Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit, are not rank outsiders.
The odds are long on the remaining six candidates Leonard Kelly of the Social Democrats, the Green Party's Ann Walsh, David Lloyd of Direct Democracy Ireland & National Citizens Movement, and independents Caroline Foxe, Emmet Moloney and Paul O'Hanlon.
At 150-1, Mr O'Hanlon is bottom of the table at Paddy Power. Boylesports have inadvertently ommitted his name from the list of candidates on their website.