Unless they control a small fortune, most punters will not be putting their hard-earned euro on some politicians offered at very unsporting odds, for it’s the bookies who would be the winners.
For example, if a person on the average industrial weekly wage gambled their entire €820 pay packet with Paddy Power on Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien, in Cork North Central, their return would be the price of about two pints. Sure-bet O’Brien is being quoted at 80/1 on — in other words, a one euro win for every €80 bet. The odds on O’Brien, however, are slightly better with Boyle Sports, at 1/33, or 33-1 on.
The betting houses are also not taking too many risks with Simon Coveney, the Fine Gael minister for agriculture. Despite tough competition in Cork South Central, he’s another unbetable 1/50 with Paddy Power, and 1/20 with Boyle.
Interestingly, Micheál Martin is on 1/10 and 1/9, respectively, with the same bookmakers, while they are offering 1/5 and 1/7 on another big vote catcher, Michael McGrath. No odds are available on McGrath trumping the leader, but it’s worth asking both bookies.
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In the city constituencies, there’s not much joy for the ordinary punter, but it’s a different story in the rural county.
One of the best flutters, considering the odds, would be on Rachel McCarthy, a Sinn Féin county councillor running in Cork South West.
The young Bandon-based mum is in a battle royal for the third, and final, seat, and it would be foolish to rule her out, especially if Sinn Féin, in West Cork, can get anywhere near the national average vote being predicted.
But Ms McCarty has her work cut out, with other Bandon locals, Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony and Gillian Powell, all hoping to be the first female TD ever elected in the constituency.
Political pundits say it’s astonishing the SF Dáil hopeful was quoted at 25/1, although Boyle offers much less, at 14/1. Either way, still worth a fiver.
In the same constituency, the bookies are a good bit apart when it comes to outgoing Labour TD, Michael McCarthy. Power’s quote him at 7/1, but Boyle Sports has shortened the odds to 4/1.
There’s zero point in betting on Jim Daly, in Cork South West, unless you happen to have professional gambler Barney Curley’s deep pockets to back the Fine Gael TD, as bookies all have him at 20-1 on.
The party’s second outgoing TD, Noel Harrington, is a slightly better proposition, at odds of 8-1 on and 7-1 on.
After that, it’s a real lottery, with Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony at 8/15 and 8/13, compared to another favourite, Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind), quoted at 11/10 and 6/5. Independent Michael Collins, fighting his first Dáil election, has also rattled the bookies, as they are only offering 11/8 and 5/4. He is the main challenge to FG’s Harrington in the west of the constituency.
In Cork East, the entire weekly wage again would have to be gambled to get a serious few bob on outgoing Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, being quoted at 12-1 on, and 14-1 on, for one of the four seats.
Both bookmakers offer odds of 7-1 on for Kevin O’Keeffe (FF), who narrowly missed out on a Daíl seat on the last outing, and if you are Mr Average Weekly Industrial Wage, that represents a return of far more pints, or fish suppers, than you’d get on O’Brien.
As expected, outgoing TD Michael Creed (FG) is at the very short odds of 10-1 on, in the three-seater Cork North-West, with Deputy Michael Moynihan (FF) at 8-1, and 7-1 on.
There will be no seat change if the bookies are right, with odds on Aine Collins (FG) of 1-2 on, and 2-5 on.
However, a good outside bet is county mayor, John Paul O’Shea (Ind), at a somewhat extraordinary evens’ money with Paddy Power, and 6/5 with Boyle.