08 Feb 2020 | 07.27 am
Who The Bookies Rate In Leinster Constituencies
Ministers Regina Doherty and Damien English under pressure
08 Feb 2020 | 07.27 am
• Carlow-Kilkenny: Four incumbents lead the Paddy Power betting market in this 5-seater: FF’s Bobby Aylward (1/20), FF’s John McGuinness (1/14), FG’s John Paul Phelan (1/5), and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion (1/20, in from 1/12). FF’s Jennifer Murnane O’Connor (1/6, in from 4/9) is now fancied to take a seat from FG’s Pat Deering (2/1, out 2/7). The only other candidate given a realistic chance is Malcolm Noonan (7/4, in from 2/1) of the Greens.
• Kildare North: Social Democrats co-leader and incumbent Catherine Murphy (1/25) is strongly fancied by Paddy Power to retain her seat in this 4-seater. The bookies also favour the prospects of outgoing FF deputy James Lawless (1/6). For the other two seats, there is more uncertainty, according to the odds-makers. FF’s Frank O’Rourke (1/3, in from 4/9) and FG’s Bernard Durkan (11/10, out from 4/7), both incumbents, are favoured to retain their seats, though the odds indicate they can’t take anything for granted. FG’s Anthony Lawlor (11/10, out from 10/11) could unseat his colleague, and hovering in the wings is Green Party candidate Vincent Martin (evens, in from 11/10). The odds around Sinn Fein candidate Reada Cronin (3/1) don’t reflect national opinion poll trends.
• Kildare South: Fianna Fáil won two seats here in 2016, and Fiona O’Loughlin (1/9, in from 1/7) is favoured to retain her seat, as is FG incumbent Martin Heydon (1/6, out from 1/10). FF incumbent Sean O’Fearghail is automatically returned to the Dail due to his Ceann Comhairle role. That means this 4-seater will return three candidates at the election. If FF’s Suzanne Doyle (13/8, in from 7/4) is elected, that could give FF three out four in this constituency. Hoping to block the hat-trick are Labour’s Mark Wall (5/4, in from 11/8), independent Cathal Berry (9/5, in from 2/1) and Sinn Féin’s Patricia Ryan (5/2, in from 10/3).
• Laois-Offaly: The two counties have been bundled back together for electoral purposes after a brief separation. There were six seats last time and now the merged constituency is a 5-seater again. Four of the incumbent candidates are fancied by the bookies to retain their seats: FF’s Barry Cowen (1/14), FG’s Charlie Flanagan (1/6, out from 1/14), FF’s Sean Fleming (1/8) and Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley (1/20, in from 1/7). Fianna Fail’s Peter Ormond (4/7, in from evens) is favoured to win a seat over incumbent FG deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (9/4, out from 7/4), Also in the mix are independent John Leahy (3/1, out from 11/4), and Green Party candidate Pippa Hackett (7/2, out from 3/1).
• Longford-Westmeath: The Labour seat held by Willie Penrose is up for grabs in this 4-seater and Paddy Power believe Labour won’t be retaining it. Expected by the bookies to be returned are FF’s Robert Troy (1/9, out from 1/33), independent Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran (1/10, out from 1/25) and FG’s Peter Burke (1/4, in from 1/3), all of them incumbents. The wildcard in the contest is Sinn Féin candidate Sorca Clarke (11/8), who zoomed up the betting list from nowhere following encouraging opinion poll numbers for her party. Fianna Fáil is still favoured to pick up the Penrose seat here with Joe Flaherty (2/9, in from 1/3). FG’s Michael Carrigy (2/1, out from 6/4) is in with a shout but Labour’s Alan Mangan (8/1, out from 9/2) is friendless among punters.
• Louth: Fine Gael won two seats in this 5-seater in 2016 but that’s unlikely to happen this time, the bookies believe. Sinn Féin won two seats last time too, and SF candidates Ruairi O Murchu (1/12, in from 1/4) and Imelda Munster (1/12, in from 1/7) are favoured by odds-makers. Also expected to be elected is FF incumbent Declan Breathnach (1/7). Labour’s Ged Nash (4/9, out from 1/3) is fourth in the betting and it’s a tight call between Fine Gael minister Fergus O’Dowd (4/7) and Green Party candidate Mark Deary (evens, in from 10/3). Paddy Power don’t discount the chances of Fine Gael renegade Peter Fitzpatrick (evens, out from 8/11), an incumbent now running as an independent. Also in the picture are FG’s John McGahon (15/8, out from 5/4) and FF’s James Byrne (2/1, in from 9/4).
• Meath East: In 2016 the three candidates elected were FF’s Thomas Byrne and the Fine Gael ministers Helen McEntee and Regina Doherty. Paddy Power view Thomas Byrne (1/25) as locked on to retain his seat, and give a better chance to Helen McEntee (1/6, in from 1/5) than Regina Doherty (7/4, out from 6/4) to be returned this time. Third in the betting in this 3-seater is Sinn Féin’s Darren O’Rourke (1/6, in from 4/11). Independent Sharon Keogan (7/2, in from 4/1) is given an outside chance, but not Green candidate Sean McCabe (6/1).
• Meath West: FF’s Shane Cassells (1/10, out from 1/20) should be elected in this 3-seater, the bookies believe, but Fine Gael junior housing minister Damien English (4/7, in from 4/6) could be in trouble. Punters prefer the prospects of Aontu founder Peadar Toibin (2/5, out from 1/3) retaining his seat, while his former Sinn Féin colleague Johnny Quirke (1/2, in from 6/4) is now very marginally fancied to take out the minister. English is buttressed by FG running mates Noel French (7/2, out from 11/4) and Sarah Reilly (5/1, in from 9/1).
• Wexford: Seven candidates are given a fighting chance in this 5-seater. With Mick Wallace out of the way, Fianna Fáil is favoured by the bookies to pick up a seat, with FF incumbent James Browne (1/7, out from 1/14) being joined by FF by-election winner Malcolm Byrne (1/7, in from 1/6). Fine Gael’s two incumbents are Michael D’Arcy (evens, out from 1/2) and Paul Kehoe (2/1, out from 11/8) . One of them may win a seat, but possibly not both or either of them, the odds-makers predict. Looking to knock out both FG deputies TDs are independent Verona Murphy (1/3, in from 4/5), who ran for Fine Gael in the recent by-election, and betting market leader Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen (1/10, in from 1/2). Labour leader Brendan Howlin (1/7, out from 1/33) is fancied to just about keep the red flag flying in the south east
• Wicklow: Fine Gael picked up two seats in this 5-seater in 2016 and Paddy Power believe one of those deputies may not be returning to the Dáil. Sinn Féin’s Johnny Brady (1/14) is betting market leader while the Fianna Fáil pair of Stephen Donnelly (2/9, out from 1/6) and Pat Casey (1/5) are the other outgoing TDs favoured by the odds-makers to be elected. Health minister Simon Harris (2/9, out from 1/6) is fourth in the betting and his colleague and incumbent Andrew Doyle (5/4, in from 11/8) has received some late support in the betting market. The big market mover is Social Democrats candidate Jennifer Whitmore (5/4, in from 11/4). Green candidate Steven Matthews (5/4, in from 11/8), late arrival independent Valerie Cox (6/4, in from 9/4) and independent John Snell (7/2) are in the mix.
Photo: Damien English TD (Pic: Rollingnews.ie)