Friday 19 January 2018

Biggest hurdle could be making it out of the semis

Ireland has had more Eurovision wins than any other nation, but that has no currency these days.

We haven't had a win in almost 20 years, since Eimear Quinn's victory in 1996, and we've failed to make it to the final four times since the semis were introduced in 2004.

So what of our chances this year?

Well, 'Playing With Numbers' is a serious effort - our best in some years - but the competition is also serious this year.

There are few if any novelty songs (no singing grannies) or major talking points (no bearded man in a dress), and lots of soaring ballads.

And neither the bookies nor the pollsters give us a hope.

A quick browse through some of the multitude of surveys and polls on Eurovision sites and blogs paints a gloomy picture. Most would appear to have Ireland languishing near the bottom.

However, the Eurovision poll on ScoreWIZ, which is updated every 60 seconds, had Ireland 19th out of 40 at the weekend - not bad considering our recent form.

At the bookies, who are rarely too far off the mark, the news is not great. Paddy Power, who will give you 66-1 on an Ireland win, have us around mid-table.

On the other hand, Oddschecker, who compare the odds from a host of different betting companies, rank Ireland a poor 32nd, and reveal that one site, Skybet, offer odds of 200-1 on an Irish win. While this may not necessarily tally with the voting, it's clear that an Irish victory this Saturday night would be a major shock.

Greg and Molly's first, and probably biggest, hurdle is qualification from their semi-final on Thursday.

They've landed a bad position in the running order (second to perform on the night), but have the advantage that voters from the UK and Australia will be eligible to vote on the second semi final, and we can reasonably expect points from both.

If Ireland do make it through, then it's down to a single performance on final night.

Our ambition at that point would be to become one of those dark horses that almost always seem to gallop into the Eurovision top ten, no matter what the bookies or polls say. Go Molly, go!

Wexford People

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