As we approach the final days of the election campaign, the Galway Independent’s Bettor Not Lose columnist Kevin Breslin takes a look at the odds in Galway East
Galway East is a peculiar beast. The boundary change and dropping from four to three seats means it’s harder to call than normal.
The loss of Ballinasloe was seen to hurt Paul Connaughton Jr of Fine Gael the most, cutting out a large slice of his supporter base. However he was still seen as the more likely of the two Fine Gael candidates to keep his seat and was priced up initially at 1/3, whilst running mate Ciaran Cannon was a 2/1 chance. That has all changed, with Paddy Power reporting plenty of money on Cannon to the point he is now seen as the more likely to hold onto his seat, with the former junior minister now priced 4/6 and Connaughton Jr 4/5. I’m not so sure though.
The initial assessment for Galway East was that Sean Canney (Ind), Colm Keaveney (FF) and Paul Connaughton Jr (FG) would take the three seats, but I never believed that was possible. They are all based in the north close to Tuam and although it’s the biggest catchment area, I struggled to see how no southern county candidate could grab a seat.
That may indeed be why Cannon is seen as the likeliest benefactor in Loughrea, with only Sinn Fein’s Annemarie Roche (80/1) and Independent Michael ‘Stroke’ Fahy (50/1) based down that neck of the woods. Labour’s Lorraine Higgins has Athenry nearly to herself and if she could count on local support she is not the longshot most of her critics had dismissed her as. Again the odds here were slashed from 8/1 into evens after Paddy Power reported laying fortunes on the Senator (currently back out to 10/3). If we accept Sean Canney is in and the odds of 1/5 suggest he is then Colm Keaveney is in real trouble. His odds have been weak too from a low of 2/7 to 4/6. He was elected under a Labour ticket last time out and it’s interesting that it appears the retired Michael Kitt is getting photographed beside Anne Rabbitte on the campaign trail. Her odds have been steady enough, around 5/4 into 5/6, and although Portumna has smaller voting numbers, it’s a town and area that needs real help and will rally under that candidate regardless of political affiliation. Lorraine Higgins and Ciaran Cannon’s transfers could propel her over the line past Keaveney.